Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Model Shop or Desktop?

3D printing vendors work hard at engineering and manufacturing systems which are office compatible. There has been a shift in recent years from operating 3D printers in a model shop environment to a shared office location. As these systems become more user-friendly, the multi-user office environment makes a lot of sense. But, seriously, do we really need a desktop 3D printer? Remember when personal ink-jet and laser printers first hit the market? While they made perfect sense for the home environment, very few professionals (with the exception of Human Resource managers) could justify a desktop printer in their office. After all, unless your job involves constant production of highly confidential documents, it makes no economic sense to have your own desktop printer (just ask your IT director). How many of you have a 2D printer on your desk?

The same is true for 3D printers. No matter how low the price, these systems are ideal for sharing. It’s all about collaboration. So, gather round your 3D printer in the hallway, chat about your favorite sporting team’s win or latest political incumbent loss, and marvel at how 3D printing technology enables you to bring your design to life!