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  1. #1
    Technologist
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    Oct 2013
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    3D Printing Future Timeline

    I do a lot of research about market conditions and consider myself a futurist. I have put together a somewhat detailed timeline of where the 3D Industry is likely headed over the next 30 years. This is all an educated guess. Some of the predictions later on may seem a bit crazy, but I truly believe they will come to fruitation within +/- 5 year's time:


    2014: The 3D Printing Market will continue to expand. Consumer printers sold will increase by 55% over the previous year
    2014: Expiration of Key 3D Printer Patents will open up the industry to competition, decreasing prices dramatically, especially for top end machines.

    2015: Organova has changed the way drug discovery and testing is done. Sales of 3d printed human cells for testing are skyrocketing.

    2016: 3D Printers enter the mainstream. 90% of the population will know what a 3D Printer is, and Sales of consumer oriented printers will have increase 8-10 times since 2013

    2017: The first fully functioning 3D Printed Mouse liver will have been produced.
    2017: Gartner has estimated that the 3D Printing market will have grown close to 2000% by now.

    2018: The manufacturing landscape of the United States, Europe, and most of Asia has changed dramatically. Robots and 3D Printers are taking over repetitive manufacturing jobs. Nearly every fortune 500 manufacturing company is using a 3D Printer in one way or another.
    2018: Filaments, especially the plastics have dropped in price close to 75% as competition heats up.

    2019: The First 3D Printed Human Liver has been produced. It is not perfect. It will be 3-4 more years before these are able to be transplanted into humans, changing the landscape of organ transplantation forever.
    2019: Nearly Every High School in America has a 3D Printer or multiples in it, with classes based on the technology

    2020: Metal extruding 3D Printers are becoming cheaper and much more common in households. Printers that cost $15,000-$40,000 today will be affordable for most of the public, while also producing stronger, products faster.
    2020: The US Government passes sweeping patent reforms to account for the sharing of 3D Models which are used to print out objects. If you thought music and video pirating was a major hurtle, wait until you have 3D model pirating. Eventually new markets will be put into place, and just like we have come up with solutions for filesharing, via itunes, and Netflix, we will have a solution for model sharing. There will be some pretty bumping years ahead though for patent holders.

    2022: Multi-material printers are becoming all the rage. Printers which can print using metal, wood, plastics, resin, rubbers, sugar, and ceramics are very common within manufacturing facilities, and are becoming much more common with DIY'ers.

    2023: A construction company has formed which only builds via 3D Printers. Using cement extruding printers the size of a baseball diamond, they are able to print out the entire frame of a house within a mater of 36 hours. The printer than changes it's material and prints out the entire inside of the home within two weeks. New Home prices begin to drop, as the number of man hours required, and material costs drop significantly.

    2024: Although scientists have been able to 3D Print food such as Steaks since 2012, it has finally been perfected to a degree so that food is nearly indistinguishable from the 3D Printed versions. Because of this, over the last couple years the concept has caught on, leading major grocery chains to put this 3D Printed food on their shelves. Millions of animals are saved from death each months.

    2025: A moon base is 3D Printed.

    2026: 3D Printing is Just about everywhere. The market has expanded rapidly, going from a value of $250 million in 2012 to one of $900 Billion now.

    2027: Companies are now able to quickly print out all types of Human organs for transplants. Kidneys, hearts, livers, stomachs, skin, etc

    2043: With the help of extremely fast quantum computing, machines are now able to become nanofactories, rearranging molecules to print out nearly anything. This has changed the world as be know it, and the economy in seismic ways. The exponential progress in technological advancement has led to a world most people would not recognize today.

    After this point, human like AI could be upon us, making it nearly impossible for us to predict just where things will head. 3D Printing, as well as extremely fast computational abilities have led to what some call the singularity.

    Would love to hear your feedback and own predictions!
    Last edited by RedSox2013; 11-26-2013 at 03:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Engineer
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    423
    I think this is a very solid list of predictions. Good job!

  3. #3
    Nice timeline. I've seen some that I think are way off. This one I pretty much agree with, but it's very difficult to predict the future.

  4. #4
    Engineer
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    I think anything after 2020, is up in the air. The Increase in computer power over the next 7 years should play a significant role in just about all technology, meaning that the effects could be unimaginable. Things are progressing in tech much much faster than they have been up until now. Exponential growth!

  5. #5
    Technologist
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    Oct 2013
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    Thanks For The Feedback guys. I would love to revisit this in 3-4 years and see where we stand

  6. #6
    Good job on the predictions.

  7. #7
    Engineer
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    Here is an interesting article which shows that 3D Printer sales will have grown by a factor of 10 within just 4 years. This is remarkable growth, growth that we have not seen in any industry for quite a long time. I think things are about to get real interesting real fast in the 3D printing Industry. http://www.3ders.org//articles/20131...-adoption.html

  8. #8
    Technologist
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    Lets look at the next 3 years according to this post:

    2014: The 3D Printing Market will continue to expand. Consumer printers sold will increase by 55% over the previous year
    2014: Expiration of Key 3D Printer Patents will open up the industry to competition, decreasing prices dramatically, especially for top end machines.

    2015:Organova has changed the way drug discovery and testing is done. Sales of 3d printed human cells for testing are skyrocketing.

    2016: 3D Printers enter the mainstream. 90% of the population will know what a 3D Printer is, and Sales of consumer oriented printers will have increase 8-10 times since 2013

    2017: The first fully functioning 3D Printed Mouse liver will have been produced.
    2017: Gartner has estimated that the 3D Printing market will have grown close to 2000% by now.
    In my opinion all these will be fact. We have already seen some nice price drops this year, and all indications are that the market will grow more than expected.

  9. #9
    Interesting predictions. I may not agree with all of them, but good job anyways. I don't believe in singularity because it's just not economically feasible, and printing internal organs sounds unusual to me at this point in time. Maybe I'll know better at some point in the future. I sure hope to live to see that even if having one printed would probably cost a million.

  10. #10
    Student 3D Accuracy's Avatar
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    Good afternoon RedSox2013,

    Very interesting subject, however, predicting the future can be a treacherous path to take. RedSox2013 you have a lot of courage to stick your neck out like this, Iím not sure Iíd want to do it.

    Just for contrast, letís take a look at the reality of 3D Printing from the past.

    1983: the first 3D Printer was invented, 3D Systems SLA technology
    1984: patents for 3D Printing were issued
    1985: PTC (Parametric Technologies Corp., 3D software) was founded
    1986: 3D Printers became available for commercial sale, it was touted at that time to be an industry changing technology that would alter manufacturing as we knew it, well it didnít. Here we are almost 30 years later and it still hasnít happened but the hype has resurfaced because people who are manufacturing hobby level 3D Printers want to sell machines. You get to pay!
    1988: PTC launched Pro/ENGINEER 3D software, this is important because companies started to move into 3D CAD software which is necessary to create 3D databases for 3D Printing. There were a couple other companies who had 3D CAD software available prior to this, Anvil 5000 was one and there was another but I canít remember the name, they did not have a large market exposure.
    1989: Stratasys was founded, FDM technology 3D Printers
    1995: SolidWorks 3D CAD software came available, this exposed more companies to the idea of using 3D CAD software.

    Iíll stop the timeline at this point because since then itís basically been product improvements by 3D software and 3D Printer manufacturerís and a handful of new players doing pretty much the same thing.

    Iíve been having 3D Prototypes made since about 1995 when I started using Pro/E, thatís about the time it started becoming more common throughout various industries.

    Over the years 3D CAD software has become more common. I only know of a handful of manufacturing companies who donít have a 3D CAD package, they outsource their needs. As a result more companies are using their 3D data to have 3D parts printed.

    Will 3D Printing take over conventional types of manufacturing? Based on the last 28 years of 3D Printer history, no. Will that change in the next 10 to 15 years? Probably not. The reason why is simple, time. 3D Printers have been around for almost 30 years now and they are not much faster than they were back then. It still takes too long to make a part and if you need to make parts in volume you can forget it.

    The example I often use is of the part that Iím holding in my hand in my avatar picture. Itís a simple hanger which took about 4 hours to print. The injection mold that makes this same hanger makes 32 parts every 20 seconds. In the same time it took me to 3D Print one, the injection mold made 23,040 hangers.

    Could you go into business manufacturing hangers with 3D Printers, no. Could you make yourself a couple for personal use, sure, why not. But the thing you have to ask yourself is ďdo I want to spend at least $500 to by a somewhat decent hobby 3D Printer to make a couple hangers when I can buy a pack of 10 hangers at Wal-Mart for $1? Doesnít make any sense to do it just like it makes no sense to buy a 3D Printer to make a door knob when you can go to the hardware store and buy one for $9. Iíve heard someone say that very thing ďyou can 3D Print your own doorknobĒ when rationalizing the advantages to buying a 3D Printer, in fact I think it might have been the guy who owned MakerBot, but I donít remember for sure. When I heard that I laughed at the stupidity of the statement.

    Will 3D Printers improve over time, of course, but remember so will conventional manufacturing methods. The injection molding industry as an example is not going to stand still while it waits for 3D Printing technology to catch up.

    There will be a small group of people, most of us on this forum for example, who are interested in 3D Printing and have or will purchase/make one of our own. Outside of this small group I donít see 3D Printers ending up in every household like people are predicting. Not everyone wants to learn how to use a 3D Printer or 3D CAD software and put up with all the problems with printing parts that many of you have shared here on the forum.

    Lots of people with these hobby 3D Printers, which would be the same as those that are predicted to be in every household, are having difficulties 3D printing parts from ABS which is an easy plastic to print. I see the posts here asking for help just like Iím sure you see also. Not all parts used in our homes can be printed from or function properly made out of ABS and when you start getting into printing Nylon, PC (polycarbonate), PP (polypropylene), PE (polyethylene), PFS (polyphenolsulfone), Ultem, Acetal and other more exotic materials the problems will compound.

    Do you honestly think the hobby level 3D Printer manufacturers are going to be willing to invest huge sums of money into developing 3D Printers that can easily print these materials? Not at hobby level prices. This is why Stratasys, 3D Systems, EOS and other high end 3D Printers that can already make parts from these materials cost so much and why they are used in commercial/industrial/medical companies.

    Remember something, 3D Printing is being hyped right now because the hobby level 3D Printer manufacturerís want to sell printers, itís their business to sell printers so they have to hype them, get you to purchase one and ride the wave while it lasts. People like myself who have been involved in industries who have been using 3D Printing for the last 20 years or more have a different perspective in all of this.

    So at this point Iíll muster up the courage, like RedSox2013, to stick my neck out and make my own prediction Ö over the next 5-10 years, as the reality sets in, the 3D Printer market for home/hobby use will flatten out and may even make a huge belly flop as people become aware of the health hazards involved with having and using a 3D Printer in their home.

    There will always be uses for 3D Printers in a commercial/industrial/medical environment but as far as being in every home is concerned? Personally I donít buy into the hype.

    Have a terrific day!
    Robert
    3D Accuracy
    http://www.3d-accuracy.com/blog/
    Last edited by 3D Accuracy; 02-13-2014 at 03:45 PM.

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