Hunting The Killer App For Consumer 3D Printing

About 5 years ago I read a mainstream media article on consumer 3D printing.  A journalist had use of a 3D printer for a few weeks and made all kinds of things, found it interesting, but finally commented that there was no “killer app” for a 3D printer in the home.  The closest they came was 3D printing furniture for their Childrens’ dolls house.

Today, consumer 3D printers have gone on to be big business, with an estimated 500k machines sold in 2017 whilst now in 2018 Creality’s factory in China is one manufacturer among many, who are shipping 1800 machines per day.  It sounds a lot, and yet most of the people I know still don’t own one.  These machines cost about as much as a laptop computer, which everyone has at home.  But still most of them don’t desire a 3D printer, or know what they would do with it if they did.

So I continue trying to puzzle, what will be the “thing” which everybody has to have, but which can only be delivered by consumer level 3D printing?  The thing which if your kids can’t have it, their life would be ruined, in the same way as if you didn’t have wifi at home.

Perhaps it has to be something personally customisable, to fit a unique owner.  Perhaps there will be a trend away from following big name brands, towards wanting to create our own unique brands and apply it to everything we own.  Could it be something that can be delivered with more immediacy by 3D printing than by any other means.   This will be a challenge in the age of Amazon prime next day shipping.

I’m still trying to figure it out.  I have in mind that there will be some sort of kids’ craze, in which a specific and new piece of plastic is required each day, to keep some kind of game, puzzle or challenge going.  Like Pokemon but with real plastic monsters.

So far, the closest I’ve got is this:  I had an idea for a self spinning Christmas tree.  If I’d have had this idea in September they’d have been injection moulded in China by now and you’d pick one up at the gas station for 1.99 , a great laugh for the kids.

But now it’s December and I only just thought of it, so the only chance you have to be as cool as us this Christmas is to 3D print one for yourself.  You can get a 3D printer on Amazon prime.

Merry Christmas!


About my interest in 3D printing:

My interest in 3D printing is both professional and personal.  I’ve been working for a nanomaterials manufacturer for some years who now manufacture nanodiamond modified 3D printing materials, and I’ve had my own machines since early 2017 which are mainly used for making modified car parts.  You can and should follow those antics in the facebook group “3D Print My Ride”

In 2019, I may enter the fray of commercial service 3D printing……………..

Leave a Reply