I’ve been in contact with a researcher working with tangible user interfaces, TUIs. As a part of his thesis work, he needed handles for his end users to interact with. These handles where printed using a MakerBot. Here is Allen’s post about them. To quote Allen:
“The model looked fantastic and, as luck would have it, we had someone with access to a 3D printer who was willing to help us out. … if I had access to my own 3d printer I could see spending quite a bit of time iterating this design to perfect it.”
This quote highlights both the strength, and perhaps the weakness of the additative 3D printing technology that exists for home use. There are certain limitations, and to perfect some designs, the component needs to be printed several times, tweaking its position and design to suite the printing process.
As 3D printers become cheaper by the hour, this limitation will be reduced. As everyone who needs 3D printing will have a printer, the iterative process is no more complex than having to compile, test and alter software a couple of times before perfection is reaced.