In the near-term, prices for selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers are expected to fall below $10,000 because of expiring patents. Now, SLS 3D printers can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. SLS 3D printers use the heat from a laser to form solid objects out of powders.
For the record, makerspace development is not solely about deploying 3D printers. Makerspace Development is about empowering a larger creative class. It’s about supporting a community of creatives that may choose to use 3D printers.
The fall in prices of SLS 3D printers expands the number of materials that creatives can use to implement their projects. The lower SLS 3D printer prices does not increase the number of creatives that can take advantage of the new capabilities.
In fact, most of the current makerspaces will not be impacted at all from falling prices for SLS 3D printers. Also, the majority of new makerspace operators would do well to concentrate on building a strong community.
This SLS printer trend means that makerspace development will continue to deliver on the promise of providing creatives with low-cost options for delivering complex products. It also raises the hope that eventually more people will build sustainable micro-businesses. Win-Win for US economy.