Let’s look forward to 3d printers in 2018. What needs to stay the same? What needs to change? How should a 3D printer look like in 2018?
With 2017 drawing to a close, we can look forward to the next year of 3D printing. So, what needs to stay the same? What needs to change? And how should a 3D printer look like in 2018? Here are some thoughts on what most 3D printing enthusiasts would like to see in the near future.
Do you need an all-metal hotend? No, not really. But I sure am not going back to PTFE / Teflon liners (these tubes ensure the filament is not sticking to the inside of your hotend). Not only does an all-metal hotend offer a greater filament flexibility. They are also easier to clean out and give routine maintenance, too.
In theory, you should never have to replace your all-metal hotend. You can replace thermistors and heater cartridges as they wear out, but I don’t see any reason why your E3D V6 is not going to be humming along in 2028. Whatever super polymers have been invented by then, you will be good to go.
Also, the lower maintenance and downtime is well worth the additional cost.
Please can have 2018 be the year when acrylic frames go away forever?
The rigidity of a frame is extremely important. Acrylic and other plastic frames are just not cutting it anymore. Just like we don’t see printers coming out with plywood frames anymore. In my opinion, we should vote with our wallets to let this practice end.
I hope to see more 3rd party frame kits come out for various printer models and more companies offering aluminum extrusion kits for community printers like the Hypercube D and C bots. Hopefully, then we can have a more rigid foundation for 3D printing in 2018.
MOSFETs need to be standard on 3D printers. They regulate the power that goes from your power supply to your printers motherboard. More expensive machines have better power supplies that ensure that your printer is going to be electrically safe.
Unfortunately, most cheaper machines don’t come with MOSFETs in the box. If you can buy a MOSFETs for less than $5, every 3D printer manufacturer should be able to include them in any cheap 3D printer kit as standard. We want our machines print, not burn the house down.
Auto-leveling is one of those things that make 3D printing so much easier. We need to see more printers come with sensors of various kinds. Removing points of potential print value will help to bring more people to the market and have more successful prints out of the box.
It’s really not that difficult or expensive to put into a printer so at least let us have it as an option as an upgrade.
Having beds being made of metal opens up magnetic removable build plates of your favorite build surface. Build Tac, Printbite, or whatever other print surfaces you love could come on flexible removable surfaces.
This would be a great standard to see in 2018. Because we need fewer rolls of tape and binder clips for sure, resulting in less waste also.
The Raspberry Pi is a part of 3d printing. I plan to add Octoprint to pretty much every 3D printer I own. It makes printing easier allowing for great monitoring of prints and great file management.
So, dear manufacturers: please leave holes in your printers control box or on the Chassis for us, so we can easily add a Raspberry Pi. If you want extra community points, offer it with your printer and support its development. It’s a great value-add to a printer far more than the cost it takes to implement.
These are just some of the things that I think will make 3D printers better in 2018. This is not all that I want to see of course but I think these things could be implemented and supported. I think all these can be reasonably expected to be standard by the end of 2018.
We can keep our quad extruder, 300 mm/s print speed dream machine in our hearts for 2019.
But for the coming year, I think this is a great start.