3D printing is a wonderful technology that has many incredible uses in our world today. As 3D printers become more common and affordable, you’ll probably have some questions or even concerns about the technology. Maybe you think it looks cool and you’re kind of interested in seeing what the fuss is all about, but you’re hesitant to purchase your own machine (or use a publicly available one, such as one at your local library).
We understand your hesitation! Any kind of new tech should be open to questions and comments. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at seven advantages and disadvantages to 3D printing. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s something you would like to look into further.
1. Advantage – 3D printers promote on-demand production
In this world of quick and easy convenience, we have grown used to having exactly what we want, when we want it. While this isn’t always feasible, 3D printing has been used to make great leaps in these areas of convenience and customization.
When you use a 3D printer, you can design products to exactly meet your specifications, requirements, and wishes – and you can have that product in your hand in a relatively short amount of time. 3D printing is great for people who enjoy having the world at their fingertips with just a bit of input.
2. Disadvantage – 3D printers could put people out of work
As 3D printers gain relevance and importance in our world, people who have manufacturing jobs could find themselves, well, out of a job. While it is highly doubtful that 3D printers will ever take over the manufacturing industry completely, they do have the potential to make using so many human workers obsolete. This would cut down on available jobs and make it harder for the little guy, in many ways.
However, there is a hidden advantage here. With the advent of 3D printers in different manufacturing facilities, highly trained engineers and designers will be needed to run the printers and input designs. There will definitely still be available jobs for those who want to go into the manufacturing industry. The opportunities will simply be different (though unfortunately restricted to only some).
3. Advantage – 3D printing gives you greater freedom of design
With 3D printers, products and designs that were virtually impossible to create via traditional methods are being manufactured with great regularity. 3D printers give you the freedom to create whatever you want – and that includes delicate, technical pieces that regular manufacturing equipment would be hard pressed to replicate (and, in some cases, would find impossible to copy).
This is great news for many people and industries because we can take products and manufacturing to a whole new level with 3D printing.
4. Disadvantage – 3D printing gives people dangerous opportunities
3D printing obviously has great potential for good. At the same time, there are also disadvantages of 3D printing as well. Due to the wide range of products available via a 3D printer, people can put together items that can cause great harm. Knives and even guns have already been created through the medium of 3D printing, meaning that this technology can be vastly harmful and destructive in the wrong hands.
5. Advantage – 3D printers allow you to test your designs in secret
If you are an inventor or an innovative manufacturer, you have to be aware of the danger that comes with creating a new product. And that danger is that someone will steal your concept, idea, or prototype and license it for themselves before you have the chance to do so.
With 3D printing, that risk can be a thing of the past. Instead of having to source out the manufacturing and design of prototypes to third parties, you can do all of that work in your own office (or home) with a 3D printer and a knowledge of how to use it.
6. Disadvantage – 3D printing is often not cost effective for large-scale manufacturing
While there are always innovations being made within the 3D printing industry, there is currently a lack of cost effectiveness when it comes to manufacturing large quantities of a given product. This means that manufacturing employees aren’t out of a job (at least not yet) – but it also means that 3D printing may not be the best fit for your business. So if you were considering using 3D printing for your large-scale business, the technology probably won’t be a good fit for you.
7. Advantage – 3D printing greatly reduces waste
When you use a 3D printer to create something, there is no waste in the production of your design. Only the materials needed for that specific design are used – there is no extra plastic or metal wasted during the process. This is great news for those who wish to reduce the amount of waste and garbage that they and their company produces.