Consumer 3D Printing

Final users of 3D printing technologies were the last category to emerge. This category includes primarily adopters of consumer 3D printing technologies. These may be enthusiasts and hobbyists who have purchased a 3D printer as a garage tool to further explore the production of drones, miniature models, RC cars or accessories.


This category of adopters was created when the RepRap movement made many of the technologies and processes necessary to build 3D printers available to everyone through open source sharing of information. Focusing primarily on filament extrusion and – in minor part – on DLP stereolithographic technologies, this movement led to a further, drastic reduction in the price of some 3D printers, taking it from the $5,000 professional and prosumer cost level to below $1,000 (with some systems running as low as $200).


Early RepRap adopters and developers often evolved their expertise thus creating a new business segment for affordable desktop 3D printers. This trend was – and continues to be – driven by the Maker movement, which is largely made up of amateur engineers and artists who have embraced digital manufacturing technologies and make things for the sake of making.


While in many cases this passion for making leads to failures or products that prove to be useless on unattainable, there is no doubt that the maker movement and amateur 3D printing adoption has been instrumental in raising global awareness around the use of these technologies, proving much more effective – to this day – than initiative promoted by governments and large corporations.


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