The November Science Cafe Concord discussed 3-D printing and had the subtitle “Has it lived up to its promise?” The panelists, from printer-manufacturer SolidScape in Merrimack, Technology Education Concepts in Concord and Manchester Makerspace, made a convincing case that “additive manufacturing” is making a difference in business and industry and will, indeed, change the world – just not in our homes, not yet.
Backchannel has a great piece (read it here) about why Makerbot, .by far the most prominent of the home-3-D-printing companies, flopped after very much excitement (Wired declared the Replicator 2 the company’s “Macintosh moment” in its October 2012 issue, with the words, “This machine will change the world.”) In summary, the problem was:
In the span of a few years, MakerBot had to pull off two very different coups. It had to introduce millions of people to the wonders of 3D printing, and then convince them to shell out more than $1,000 for a machine. It also had to develop the technology fast enough to keep its customers happy. Those two tasks were too much for the fledgling company.
But there are lots of excellent details in the article. A good pushback to all the drivel about “disruption” that gets tossed around.