This time of year often brings out the ‘inventor’ in people and as a result, we frequently receive inquiries about 3d printing from those with only the knowledge provided by the media and manufacturers of 3d printing machines.

Often 3D printing is sold as a process that can do almost anything and that anyone can use it no matter their level of knowledge or experience.

While 3D printing is an amazing process, the biggest misconception consumers often have is that they can easily take their vision or sketch and make a 3D printed part. While that is true to a degree, the missing step people aren’t aware of is that 3D CAD drawings must be created so that 3D printing technology can make the part.

As a comparison, it would be like requesting a desktop inkjet printer to print your photo, without supplying the photo. Without the photo (data), the printer doesn’t know what to print.

The quote in our headline “Unfortunately I don’t see 3D printing becoming a consumer level product anytime soon” is from a person who we believe found the 3D printing process to be frustrating and we tend to agree. It’s working towards becoming a consumer level product but just isn’t their yet.