HP to Announce Plan for 3D Printers in June
March 20, 2014 12:40 PM
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HP is entering the 3D printing market
Hewlett-Packard (HP) wants to get into the 3D printing game, and is preparing an announcement for June.
, HP has a "big technology announcement" scheduled for June 2014, where it will discuss plans to enter the commercial 3D printing market.
HP has been a player in the traditional printer market for quite some time, and was expected to eventually make a move into 3D printers. But along the way, HP had to solve some issues associated with the technology, such as the quality of substrates used in the process (this affects the durability of the end product).
There's also a lot of questioning as to whether 3D printing will score big in the consumer market just yet.
"We actually think we've solved these problems," said HP CEO Meg Whitman. "The bigger market is going to be in the enterprise space. We're on the case."
With 3D printing, various materials can be used to create a three-dimensional object for rapid prototyping and other needs. The market is currently dominated by the likes of MakerBot, and while
the cost of 3D printers is coming down
, it still hasn't made a huge splash in the consumer market.
But HP has said that 3D printing "has a magical aura" where people will want the ability to make their own objects.
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RE: The shortcomings
3/20/2014 3:43:11 PM
The biggest problem with 3d printing isn't really cost anymore, it's ease of use. From diagnosing quality problems, calibrating axis, getting material flow rate right, etc, it take alot of work and an inclination towards mechanical processes to handle it.
HP may very well help with some of these issues, new designs are becoming self-leveling and auto-calibrating, and obviously you'll only be able to use HP brand filament, so that solves flow rate (mostly), so that's fine.
That just leaves you with the difficulty of creating a 3d model. Sure you could laser-scan in something and make a 3d copy, but what's the fun in that? This is the biggest problem in my opinion, but there is also a lot of development in this area, making things easier and more consistent over time.
3D printing is far from perfect, but if gives me a way to express my creativity in ways I was unable to before, since I'm not good at drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing and instrument, cooking, etc. I run into problems constantly, and 3d printing helps me fix those problems in a reasonably rapid and creative way. Have clutter in your bathroom? Make a custom hairbrush/comb/stuff holder to mount to the wall. Bought a new or unusual firearm and want a way to carry additional magazines when shooting it? Make a form fitting belt slide magazine holder. The possibilities are endless, the ability to do so unfortunately is not yet infinite, but it's getting better rapidly.
3d printing now is similar to smartphones back in 2006. Capable for people who know how to use them (blackberry, windows mobile, etc), they just need some ease of use and consumer appeal (iPhone) even if it's not as powerful, capable, or fast as other equipment. It's also undergoing rapid development similar to that timeframe... our capabilities in 5 years will be dramatically different than what we have today.
I can't wait until we get desktop/consumer SLM metallic powder printers for under $2000... that will change things dramatically IMO.
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