Why consumer models haven’t taken off
3D printers never lived up to the hype of their early introduction. The promise of printing your own spare parts, small objects, or perhaps the latest toy craze (fidget spinners, anyone?) quickly ran up against the economics and quality of consumer-level 3D printers.
Printer quality is measured in microns (micrometres) – the lower the number, the higher the quality of the object you’re printing. Think of microns as pixels on your mobile phone’s screen – smaller microns produce a ‘higher resolution’ object, with smoother surfaces.
While most consumer 3D printers can print in resolutions up to 100 microns, around 0.1mm ‘pixels’, prints of this quality take a lot of time – so the default ‘quick print’ settings are around 400 microns. Printing a small figurine or keyring can take anywhere between 20 minutes to an…