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May 10, 2016



The consumer 3D printer market suffered from overhype originating from two parties, both desperate. One is the CAD and the CAM industries, both of which are mature, and so are desperately looking for ways to land new customers. Putting a 3D printer in every child's bedroom would force sales of some kind of CAD software -- never mind the horrid toxic environment surrounding the child.

The other separate party is the media, which is suffering from CNN-itis, in which the non-stop news cycle devours its own. Hype sells papers and page-views, even when it doesn't involve blood.

In any case, the economics were never going to work out. I could, for instance, use a 3D printer to make a broken latch I need for my car. But it is 100x more expensive to make it at home than buy it from a used car parts place.

I've always used the breadmaker analogy with 3D printing. We have the technology to bake our own bread; we just need to wait a few hours after dumping in the (right) ingredients for one loaf to be ready. Or we can just pick up a few loaves in a few minutes.

The convenience factor is down around zero, which explains the sales of a mere 20,000 a year . I'm willing to bet that most of those 3D printers are now located right next to the breadmaker in the attics of the nation.

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