3D Printers, Makers, DIY hacks, solutions and post printing tools

Created by Emil Pop on 13 April, 2018

Your target market is split in two: those that need the product, and those that want the product. Which one makes you more money?

Analyzing based on past time each category is again divided in minimum two, to simplify, those that can afford your price and those that cannot.

Let's start with a simple market that anybody understands today, software. We all have it on the computer, on the tablet, on the phone, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the garden water hose.

When software first popped up the way we know it today, as OS, (not mere trials of some nuts that loved to play with), it was damn expensive, few rich companies could afford computers and software, and even fewer governments.

But people needed it, so we had the segment of those that needed it split in two, who could afford it and who could not.

Unix was as dear as the costs of a war between two nations, they run with him nuclear plants, and similar things of great magnitude, including government operations.

Dude, home needed one too, Dude was accountant but could not afford to spend the the national income of a small country for that.

Dude knew some Unix programmers because they were his clients and they kept telling him what a kaboom of steroids would mean to have a computer, so he bought one, but no OS... that was wayyyyyyy toooo muuuuuch.

So his clients charged him peanuts and beer, and made a micro Unix like something to run his expensive and inert toy, to bring it to life.

So on the market popped up Linux, Sun Solaris, IBM, DOS, M.S. Dos, MacIntosh, CPM and a rainbow of others.

They made their programmer rich in the first run? Nope, I mean wealthy yes, but rich Bill Gates style, nope.

How many of those names you still remember?

Maybe none, their target market were not the guys who wanted, but the guys who needed, like Dude above.

Than two guys had the same idea, what if we sold this to whom wants it, although not really needs it? Yea, but how, I mean everything was on programming language, no Graphic Interface. So they both created graphic interfaces, one named Apple, one named Windows, and both priced it low, damn low, less than 1% of what Dude paid his friends to get his pile of sand and metal come to life and producing money, and definitely less than Unix, maybe one fraction of a million of it's price.

Steve Jobs did a good quality job to keep his name's sake, and priced it accordingly, some 1 monthly salary of a coast to coast truck driver.

Bill Gates made a pale quality one, full of bugs and incertitudes, but priced it for one day of work of a coast to coast truck driver.

Everybody wanted them, guess whom got rich? Did those people really needed them? Nope, there were not even applications at the time, except e-mail, Microsoft Works (what an oxymoron) text processor and the like.

Internet browsers popped up far late in time, and changed the game for ever.

The computers revolution ladies and gentleman, disruptive technology, game changer (gamers included) the future... now obsolete.

Let's have a look into the same perspective at the 3D printing technology, dream of the humanity, the physical replicator of... anything, new shoes? Print them in leather, New chairs? Print them in oak, new car body? Print it in carbon fiber, New car engine? Print it in metals,  fresh stake to grill? Print it in bio flesh materials, also print the grill in metal and some coals in carbon and hydrogen please.

Now available? Not yet, maybe some on monomaterials like plastic or ABS filament, or cement, or metal shyntheriser or Stereo Lithography Tridimensional (I guess, damn those acronyms, what the heck means SLT anyway?) with UV curing in various waxes, plastics, silicones (not for breast implant I guess, buttocks implants maybe) and other materials.

I heard somebody is printing with meat cells living steaks, or human parts, a printed liver, fully operational for transplant please...

How much per machine to start with? Millions when they came on the market.

Who bought them? Just like with initial computers and OS platforms, General Motors, the Pentagon, DARPA and similar, for fast prototyping and design proofing.

Than somebody came up with the first open source Rep Rap printer, with plastic filament (fishing line to be more precise), somebody else with cheap SLT solutions, for now small machines, like a coffee maker size, can print a mug or half a shoe in plastic or ABS or similar.

For those that needed them, but could not afford, and cost wise... thousands of USD a piece (far cheaper than the big money counterpart, but still dear to the segment "want them" not the "need them" one).

Than more feeble and slow machines were made, now a Reap Rap machine DIY can cost USD 200 or more, and a day of work to assemble it home from kit, and maybe a month to finally make it work in synchrony with your laptop.

Metal printers are still around 60K to 100K each, SLT from 3 K to 100 K each, but is a start, son the shit hits the fan and a machine as big as a fridge with multiple heads (metal, plastic and SLT) might come on the market big enough to print a chair or a small table or piece of furniture, or the fender of your car if you dented it. Probably priced around 1 monthly salary of a coast to coast driver (say 3Gran).

And from than on the game changes for ever, again...

Copyrighted by Emil Pop, July 2017.