3D Printing

New research reveals home 3D printing may not be dead

30th October 2018
Anna Flockett

New research by reichelt elektronik, highlights new, untapped potential for 3D printing at home. Over half of UK consumers (58%) say they would buy a home 3D printer to repair and replace household items or small parts. 3D printing applications in education and industry are well known but making our own 3D printed creations at home didn’t take off as originally predicted. Only 6% of UK consumers currently own a 3D printer. 

But, reichelt’s latest research suggests this might be about to change; nearly a fifth of UK consumers (17%) would buy a printer for home use and they are willing to splash the cash. The average amount Brits would be prepared to pay for a printer is £691.14. Many starter and mini printers, such as the Da Vinci models, are already available at this price point.

Frank Gerwarth, 3D printing specialist manager at reichelt said: “The idea of 3D printing was one of those futuristic ideas that didn’t immediately take off and had been side lined until now. Our new research shows that the demand for 3D printing is now beginning to grow as people understand every day applications and more affordable starter kits are now available. It’s much easier for people access and start creating their own spare parts or small items for their homes than before.”

Its greatest potential lies with repairing and replacing small parts – 21% of consumers believe this is where 3D printing can make the biggest impact. Consumers also see it being useful for printing electrical components (48%) and products for decorating and interior design (36%).

However, there is some work to be done around how to use them before they become commonplace as 63% say they don’t know how to use a 3D printer. Ease of use is a key factor for consumers, with many saying they would choose to use existing print templates (19%) or an intuitive programme to make it easier to create and format a design. Accurate and verified designs will be crucial for success.

Market demand for 3D printed goods
There’s good news for small manufacturers and businesses who are interested in producing 3D printed products cost-effectively and quickly to sell too. The research also highlighted that consumers would also be open to purchasing more 3D printed items for the home. 3D printed household items or small parts are the most popular items – 37% said they would buy these. Technical and electronic components and model and toy spare parts are the next most popular products consumers would purchase.

Brits will take a little more convincing when it comes to buying 3D printed foods however. With 18% of participants think 3D printed food would be a good idea, the most popular product people are willing to try being chocolate. A few more are willing to try out some baking creations at home though as 22% said they have bought or would buy a printer for this purpose.

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