Perfect 3D printer might still be few years away

Cyber Journal 24, April 14, 2016

By Nitten Gokhaley 

Many industries are looking at three-dimensional printers with excitement and some are also looking at it as a threat. Engineers are slowly realizing that printers can print almost anything, from medicines, food items, to garments, and automobile spare parts. But some device developers themselves suggest that three-dimensional printers have their own set of limitations.

Can 3D printers be the future of fashion industry?

Designer Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti presented the world’s first fully articulated 3D printed gown in 2013. After creating this dress, designer Michael Schmidt suggested that he aims to design garments with unusual techniques and materials.  This is what motivated him to create 3D printed dress.

The gown is worth $100,000 and was printed in 17 separate sections. All the sections were dyed and joined together. After that, Michael’s team of designers embellished the gown with around 12,000 crystals. It was specially designed for model Dita Von Teese.   She presented it during fall 2013 Fashion week in New York.


Dita Von Teese in 3D printed gown

This dress was printed by three-dimensional goods printer, Shapeways, located in Long Island City, Queens.  Shapeways is a specialist in printing objects made from steel, bronze, nylon, and plastic.

It’s a perfect combination of material science, mechanical assembly, and 3D design. However, designer Michael Schmidt suggests that three-dimensional printing cannot be the future of fashion industry. Printers are just tools that can help the industry to create something which current technology does not allow designers to do.

Companies are over-hyping 3D printer’s potential?

ARC advisory group’s analyst Sal Spada recently suggested that some researchers and even companies are over-hyping three-dimensional printer’s potential. He shared his opinion that the properties of all the products made using 3D printers will depend on the quality of powder and materials used in its ink.

Supply chain management and logistics expert, Steve Banker also shared the same opinion in some of his business reports. He had also pointed out that additive manufacturing can be used only to create selected objects. Plus, it requires companies to invest a lot of money, resources, and time. Several of his reports point out that 3D printing process is less accurate compared to traditional ways of manufacturing. Conventional manufacturing processes can be monitored for accuracy, but most of the three-dimensional printers cannot be monitored and controlled promptly.

Devices come with certain limitations

In October 2014, journalists from one of the best news sites tested Da Vinci AiO 3D scanner and printer. It allows users to scan any object and create its plastic replica with the printer. Da Vinci AiO is considered one of the cheapest 3D printers and is available between $700 and $800.

3D P

Unfortunately, while testing, the printer was not able to replicate simple items like a stress ball and even a match box car. So, experts believe that perfect three-dimensional printers still might still be few years away from us.

(Piece was also released on 3D Printigo)


Nitten is a consultant journalist, and has worked with renowned newspapers, news agency in India. If you are looking for desktop journalist, writer, you can email Nitten-

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