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Retirely in The things you own end up owning you,

Remember a few years ago when 3D printers were all the rage and predicted to be the next big business? Well, about that

Sort of like Google Glass in that some products have specialized uses and it takes a while for sensibility to take hold. You have to admire the genius of inventing something that will use even more “ink” than a normal printer. Seriously, bigger industries love these things for building prototypes. They have the right machines and technicians. Maybe not everything is suited for “at home” use.
A tale of 3D-printed failure
I should note that many of the problems Ray and I ran into in attempting to 3D-print a Pokédex were probably, at least partially, our own fault.

Mistakes were almost certainly made in our setup process that a more skilled, careful person would not have committed.

I don’t want to blame the 3D printer we used (which was a MakerBot Replicator 2 and thus, a few years old), but I do want to discuss a little bit of the challenges we faced in our six failed attempts to 3D-print the Pokédex.

The first challenge was getting the 3D file from GitHub to work with our 3D printing software. The file was distributed in a Sketchup format, which our 3D printer doesn’t natively read.

That meant installing an extension to convert the file into a format the printer’s software could process. That’s not a huge deal, but it took an extra 10 minutes out our lives. Remember when getting the exact right driver for your 2D printer was a thing? It was like that.

Just because a 3D printer may have a niche doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to be in millions of homes.

All it will take is a generational increase in resolution and it will cause seismic sifts in the war gamer community. The same thing goes for anyone who makes things more complicated than a bookcase.

Can I use it to make [insert common household item here] with quality and cost comparable to buying from a retailer?

Until the answer to this question is “yes” to any appreciable degree, 3D printers won’t be in homes.  I’m looking around and can barely see anything that a 3D printer can even make at all, regardless of cost.  Most people don’t need small, simple objects with only one or a few parts anymore.

If 3D printers could print giant objects (like furniture) or already-assembled complex, composite, and/or flexible objects (like electronics, clothes, or even just pens) economically and at decent quality, then they’ll be ubiquitous.  I’m sure it will happen but not with current equipment.  That quantum leap into higher-complexity objects needs to happen.

In what way is this not saying, “Until [any new technology] can replace the current technology in quality and cost, they won’t be in home”?

Also, even then your statement is provably wrong. Cars became higher in quality than horses (faster, requiring less maintenance in that they didn’t require daily feeding, watering and manure removal when not being used) much sooner than they became comparable in cost. I can STILL buy a horse much cheaper than I can buy a reliable car. Cost is not the deciding factor at all.

The correct answer is: a technology will be adopted by ordinary consumers for private use when the reliability and usefulness both become very apparent. TVs were popular long before they were affordable; friends would gather in the house of the lucky one who could afford a tiny B&W screen to watch them. And yet, even as a kid in the late 1960s to early 1970s when EVERY family had to have one (and lucky families had color TVs), it took a lot of fussing to get the picture. Your antenna had to be pointed in the right direction for that station – and there was a manual control box on top of the TV to change it. The Vertical Hold had to be readjusted periodically. The Horizontal Hold sometimes needed it, too. Color balance would sometimes shift on Color TVs. And if you opened the back to play with the extra controls, as you sometimes needed to do so, you risked death by electrocution from the 50,000-volt electron-steering portion of the CRT. (I am not making this up, kids.)

They weren’t simple to use, compared to today, but the advantages were enough to motivate us to try.

Maybe 3D printers will become the microwave ovens of the 2020’s. Maybe never, and they will only be used in industry. But most comments here don’t address that point. And the idiot who wrote that article never got close to understanding it.