Originally Posted by doulos30
I think that we are underestamating the potential I can build a cnc/3d printer for around 600 bucks now. Add the fact we now have printable electrical ink and I think it's safe to say a lot can be done in the near future. Will you print your next iphone I doubt it, but someone with a lil diy skill can do a lot now for example I can rout a pcb drill a pcb and make the plastic case to hold the stuff all from one machine and 3 files I could download on the net. Furthermore nothing has to be made to make money imagine having a few cnc machines and a handfull of files. A buyer picks from a list of say woodworking diy kits that have been made with raw files on your website the cnc cuts the parts they get mailed off. If you could get those files you could easilf copy the entire buisness model having risidual income with low up front costs making physical products The more common these machines get the faster the price will drop cause with raw wood and the right files you can remake most of the cnc machine it's only a matter of time and a new market will open up i mean imagine a 3d kinkos lol
Sure you can. But that's a far cry from being able to print up a functioning car (as was originally proposed when this whole cockamamie subject came up) or even a pocket radio.
I've had an interest in home machining for some time now - but it requires skill to actually produce anything useful, even if you DO have a nice CNC rig, and it's generally not cost effective for anything that can be mass produced.
I don't see 3D printing changing this any time soon except for the simplest of objects. And there are definite limitations on the materials. We're not going to see, for example, vacuum deposited metals on an affordable desktop printer - the vacuum requirements alone preclude it. (How many vacuum pumps do YOU own? I own two.)
As to the idea of the neighborhood commercial facility - how many neighborhood machinists do you see these days? Do you see any? They used to be quite common. The reason you don't see them is that the cost of one-off manufacturing is too high - even with computer control.
I'm afraid this is going to remain a tool for dedicated hobbyists and commercial/semicommercial prototyping for quite awhile, but we're not going to see the technology go mainstream in the foreseeable future. I could be wrong. I'd LIKE to be wrong. But I don't think so.
BTW, printable electrical ink is nice but I don't see it as beeing that much of a step beyond etching your own PC boards, which hobbyists have been doing for 50 years now. It IS a lot more ecologically friendly, but it also requires a substantially greater investment to get started.