Imagination is more important than knowledge.

20th March 2018

What Happened to the 3-D Printing Craze?

It’s been a good few years now since the 3-D printing craze took flight, but it never really took off properly, did it? It was the hottest thing since tablet PCs and even the likes of smart watches, with all manner of tech reviews doing the rounds about the impending explosion of the 3-D printing craze.

What happened to it though? Why is the subsequent 3-D printing craze not quite living on and leaving a lasting legacy? By that we mean that 3-D printers are not a staple in everyone’s home like the humble 2-D printer is. Though the industry is still going strong and there are many commerical applications for 3-D printed devices. If you follow print to peer latest post for the latest information on 3-D printing trends you can see there is still good demand for 3-D printed objects and innovations in that area.

In this post we will explore a few factors which may have contributed to the apparent stall of the 3-D printer craze…

Limited personal use

As with many other things of this world, 3-D printers were touted as nifty tech gizmos meant for personal use. This indicatively meant that if you wanted to use a 3-D printer you’d have to buy one for yourself. Problem is that not everyone needs a 3-D printer like they need a 2-D printer. Not unless they have a creative hobby. So in a sense 3-D printers were limited to those who were convinced of their need.

A lack of associated imagination

For many consumers who went on to actually buy 3-D printers the novelty wore off rather quickly. You can marvel at the miniature plastic items you printed out… but you have to get a 3-D model of them first. If you didn’t have the imagination to make one yourself then you were limited to what you could find on the internet.

Effective commercial deployment

As mentioned before 3-D printing technology went on to become a success in terms of the industry, though this success was within a market that is different to that which it was originally intended for.

3-D printed items are deployed all the time in commercial deployment, such as how a car mechanic might print out a mould for a specific auto part and in so doing they can use that mould over and over again without having to print the required part directly using the 3-D printer. The eventual move to focus on commercial deployment perhaps made the craze appear to have “died” when really it was serving a different client base.


This is a rather interesting one and it has some very smart people realising the self-replication power of some makes of 3-D printers. They print all the parts of the original 3-D printer and then put them together, perhaps together with the deployment of some third-party electronic components and software to get them up and running.

Access from print shops

Many people are of the idea that the costs of purchasing a 3-D printer are just not worth it, so whenever they need something printed in this way they’d head on over to a printing shop which offers 3-D printing services. It makes sense I guess because how often would you really need to print something with your 3-D printer, really?

So I guess it’s safe to say that 3-D printing technology has simply found its natural market and market size.

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