3D printing can make almost any shape as a one-off model or prototype. This has enabled people to make a lot of things from the comfort of their own home. It is relatively easy for people to access 3D design software to design their own 3D print models and now, with relatively inexpensive 3D printers, they can have them built in the same day.
The exciting technology has created several new businesses who now design, make and sell 3D prints. These home business typically take advantage of the high level of customisation that 3D printing can offer to their customers.
Yet 3D printing still has several restrictions. One of these restrictions is material properties. If you just take a quick look around, you would see a lot of different objects made from much more than one or two types of plastic. Typically, the plastic 3D printers use will vary in colour but can vary in other properties too.
If 3D printing is going to move away from one-off prototypes and models then it is going to need to do a lot better. We will need 3D prints that vary in colour, strength, flexibility and conductivity. With these properties and more 3D printers could print much more functional objects.
Home 3D printing businesses
3D printing materials are something home 3D printing businesses are going to need to be looking out for to stay relevant in a fast-growing new industry. Home businesses could start by buying new materials, stepping outside their comfort zone and increasing their offering to those looking to purchase highly custom functional 3D prints.
Home businesses could also consider investing in a filament extruder. The idea behind several filament extruders is to make 3D printing cheaper by either buying plastic pellets or recycling plastic waste. Filament extruders can be a cheaper source of existing materials helping home businesses reach more customers with lower pricing. Filament extruders can also make 3D printing better by enabling more people to experiment with brand new materials.
Home businesses who want to offer mass customisation can do so with both shape and material. As 3D printing adopts more materials it could rival products that are conventionally made through mass production.