Essential Pittsburgh
6:13 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

How Soon Are 3D Printers Likely to Become a Household Product?

Piece Maker Technologies shows the result of 3D Printing the Essential Pittsburgh Logo.
Credit Piece Maker Technologies

    

Unless you are a researcher or technology professional, 3D printers are probably an unknown technology for you. But now Home Depot will carry and sell desktop 3D printers.

Locally, the Carnegie Library has offered sessions on the basics of how 3D printing works. It’s the latest innovation in high-tech manufacturing for the masses.

Senior Librarian Wes Roberts runs the Job and Career Education Center at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and said that the 3D printing workshops show computing education workshop participants a new world.

"Providing access to education in this new realm of digital manufacturing. So that was the whole crux. To get people connected we do a lot of classes on general computing, Microsoft Office, but to bring them to this higher tier of creative design, the idea was to kind of welcome people to the new world of technology."

Despite the already big benefits of the workshop Roberts said that the programs will continue to grow and develop.

"Moving forward, it's at a pretty beginning stage with this technology, but I think we've got a really good ground work for what we're doing with our children's and our teen programs. So that we'll keep building on it for the adult level and really kind of merge them all together."

With patents expiring and more companies getting on board with the product, Roberts predicts that the price of 3D printers will drop from thousands of dollars into the hundreds of dollars range.

But until that time, Arden Rosenblatt, co-founder and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Piece Maker Technologies said you can create and design items for 3D printing at Piece Maker Technologies.

"A lot of what we do is try and jump the technology gap and get all the people who haven't seen 3-D printing, give them a fun way to give them a try and also to make a special piece for them. The end product is a big part of it."

Rosenblatt said that ultimately the dream is to get everyone designing, but 3D printers becoming household products may be a little less realistic then people would hope. He instead believes the future for 3D printing could be for stores and producers.

"I don't think 3D printing is going to replace mass-production anytime soon, but I do believe it's going to compliment it."