3D printer technology has been developed for 30 years, and many people say that 3D printing technology will lead the next industrial revolution. In the near future, people will be able to produce their own products as they like, without being limited by shapes and materials, and the products will be as rich as their imagination is. Experience tells us that the world is not perfect. When something sounds too good to be true, it must be hiding something. Today we will take a look at What Are The Main Challenges In 3D Printing?
1. Material limitations for 3D Printing
Currently, the materials that can be printed have covered a wide range, from plastic to metal, from food to cement. However, consumer-level 3D printers mainly print plastics, and the strength of the products is still relatively weak. Most of them are limited to prototype production, and seldom directly mass-produce products and functional components. A small number of 3D printers that can directly produce products are very expensive, not only the printer itself is expensive, but also the printing materials used are also expensive, which hinders its large-scale promotion and application. At present, 3D printing is mainly applied to small-scale non-standard parts, and has no advantage in mass production when compare to CNC Machining or Injection Molding.
2. Limitation of professional knowledge
Is it possible to print as long as there is a model? Is it possible to make it as long as it can be drawn? Idealism will tell you, yes, but the question has always been debated. Not all shapes can be made with 3D printing. To print 3D models, you need not only imagination, but also professional knowledge in engineering, models, etc. Even with the help of 3D scanners, modeling is much easier, but it is impossible for everyone to design models. It is more feasible for professionals to provide 3D models for ordinary people to download or purchase. It is foreseeable that with the popularity of 3D printers, the design of 3D models will become an emerging industry.
3. Intellectual property rights, legal difficulties
This may be the biggest challenge facing 3D printing. When almost everything can be produced conveniently and easily, how do you protect intellectual property rights, and how can you ensure that your designs are not infringed? There are still many legal issues to be resolved. For example, many beautiful perfume bottles have design patents. This shape is easy to make with a 3D printer. If you print one out privately, does it infringe the patent right? How should we judge? Some other products are not available to everyone. It was reported that someone used a 3D printer to make a gun, which is banned in some countries. One of the most likely applications of 3D printers is to design a toy model on children’s toys, but is this toy suitable for children? How old is it suitable for children? How to manage it well also needs to be discussed.
Despite these different challenges, just like the panic and revolution brought about by the emergence of digital music, 3D printing technology will also face these challenges head-on and find a new way, but this way may be slower than many people predicted. Slower, longer.