Probably, I am one of few marketing people in the world who buy and use a 3D printer. I paid about $1000 and bought a printer called Rappy 32 from Stellamove two months ago and have been printing miniature buildings, animals, and mobile phone cases for fun. I want to share what I have learned about 3D printers with designers and marketers, in particular, those who are interested in but have never used them.
First of all, playing with a 3D printer woke up my “creator instinct.” Previously, I was a consumer; I simply purchased and used the products someone else created for anonymous people. After having a countless consumption experiences in my life, I came to unconsciously calculate the cost and benefit of a specific purchase behavior or habitually compared between one option and another. However, when I printed something using the 3D printer, I had a fairly different type of experience; I chose what to create and then waited until it was done. While waiting, my mental calculator did not turn on but I was overwhelmed by (some kinds of) mother-specific emotions such as wish, excitement, warm caring, and disappointment. In my opinion, printing something using 3D printers is easier and more entertaining than other professional creating tasks such as drawing and cook because it simply requires me to plan what to print at first and then fully takes care of the remaining procedures.
Second, playing with a 3D printer taught me that saying is one thing, doing is another. Many people talked about 3D printers without having any hands-on experience. Some are excited about the bright future they unfold; they can decorate cakes or replace the knobs and hooks printed at home. Others are concerned about the gloomy future 3D printers bring; someone else will print out and carry weapons or generate fake coins. However, my experience taught me that the future is not around the corner regardless of whether it is bright or dark. There are literally hundreds of issues that need to be addressed for a 3D-printer to work properly. I myself often dissatisfied with the print quality. I might have developed my taste of finishing too high (e.g., iPhones or Lego bricks).