This chapter looks at the myths of 3D Printing. Radio was criticized when it began. TV was seen as the “work of the devil.” The Internet was looked on by people as “snake oil.” Every new development, going back even before the days of a “horseless carriage” was fought, critiqued, condemned and dismissed by many. Movie buffs felt “talkies” would never catch on. 3D Printing is no different. In the next chapter we will dispel many of these myths.
Myth #1: 3D Printing will never catch on because it is too technical. This technology uses specialized diagrams, complicated drawings, unusual materials and requires an understanding of engineering, computer automated design (CAD) and computer automation. The 3D Printing machines need special parts that are not easily available.
Myth #2: Most people won’t do any 3D Printing because they’re not manufacturing people. Let’ s face facts. How many people even understand manufacturing? And the USA is a service economy. Most MBA’s aren’t studying manufacturing and the USA’s expertise is in marketing. Are we really all going to have desktops and spools of plastic going back and forth on our kitchen counters?
Myth #3: 3D Printing will never replace traditional assembly line manufacturing. It’s much more cost effective to have hundreds of men and women lined up in a room making 1000 widgets with each production run. Didn’t Henry Ford invent the assembly line because it made more economic sense?
Myth #4: 3D Printers are very slow and take a long time to make one product, so who can wait? Why wait 1-4 hours for a plastic syringe to be printed when you can have a cabinet full of them, ready to go?
Myth #5: You can only make plastic junk from 3D printers. Every picture I see of 3D Printing shows some plastic cup or ball. Who needs it? How many people are using mosaic spheres in our world?
Myth #6: The labor unions will never allow a “no labor” manufacturing process. These unions are powerful and have members everywhere. There is no way they will allow products to be made without their hard work and input.
Myth #7: Holders of intellectual property will get ripped off and not paid for their designs. If I can put a CAD file into the cloud, or email it to someone, why would anyone pay for it? Just like pirating movies, software, internet news and books….no one will pay for what they can get for free.
Myth #8: Computer automated design drawings are too big too clunky and take too long to download. This isn’t a simple word processing file, it’s an entire product design. It will take up a lot of space and most of us don’t have a fast enough internet connection to get the files.
Myth #9: Most government agencies will not approve of any parts made by 3D Printing. Governments have regulations which protect it’s citizens. If anyone with a 3D printer can start making junk and selling it, who will regulate it? Are you saying someone can print out a car part and just install it in a car? What if the part fails and there is an accident?
Myth #10: This will never be in reach of the common man. Machines are too expensive. Set up is too difficult. Supplies aren’t easy to get. Some of the 3D Printing is about toys and games, but other applications seem to be about bones and eyeballs and airplane parts. It can’t get to all of us.
Myth #11: There is no demand for 3D Printed products. With E-commerce, we can find anything we want on the internet, order it, and have it in our hands in 1 day. Who is in a bigger rush than that?