Over the past few years the 3D printing market has grown significantly. There have been numerous startup companies that have been created with similar goals of providing personal access to 3D printers. A vast majority of these companies have decided to accomplish this goal by simply offering low cost printers so that more consumers can afford them. However, as the saying goes, you often get what you pay for. 3D printing is ultimately technology that combines several complex engineering disciplines (computer aided design, mechanical engineering, dynamics, thermodynamics, etc). Even with advanced features to improve ease of use owning and maintaining a 3D printer often requires a lot of patience, knowledge, skill, and artistry - for many casual designers and hobbyists it is simply more economical and enjoyable to utilize professional 3D printing services.
There are a lot of companies that provide services that will create and ship 3D prints. These services generally come at an elevated cost due to the personnel overhead. At i-SOLIDS we reduce this major expense by optimizing printer utilization and efficiency.
When considering all of the different 3D printing products and services that are available we believe it is important to keep three different factors in mind:
- What kind of quality and performance will you expect?
Simply put, lower cost generally means lower quality and/or performance – a consumer can’t expect a mid-range sedan to have the same performance as a sports car.
- How often do you plan to make 3D prints?
Even at today’s reduced prices, for the average user it may be difficult to justify the cost of a quality printer. There are no doubt many practical and enjoyable reasons to create 3D prints (prototyping, art, personalization, education, etc) but the casual 3D printer owner may find themselves not printing as often as anticipated or spending money on print material creating things needlessly.
- What is your experience and skill level?
Three-dimensional modeling and printing is still an advanced technology and can be a very intimidating concept for people who are new to it. A major research firm has concluded that consumer level 3D printing is ultimately limited by the inherent complexity that still exists in the industry: "3D Printing Is More Than Five Years Away".