This study focused on investigating makers’ opinions about current 3D printing technology to foster the development and use of 3D printing technologies in Taiwan. 3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing industries as it provided a highly flexible, customizable way of small-quantity production at low cost. Its popularity among general users, however, encountered difficulties such as high requirements in skills, less user-friendliness, lack of practicality, low reliability, etc. Makers, a special group of customers of 3D printers are familiar with problems of this technology as they shared experience on the Internet, started collaborative manufacturing with open sources and turned their DIY activities into E-business. The study utilized questionnaires in the makers’ space to obtain the background of this special group of customers, their viewpoints regarding important features to consider for purchasing a 3D printer, and difficulties and solutions in propagation of 3D printing. The results demonstrated that makers were a group of extrovert and intuitive thinkers in terms of MBTI personalities and treasured printing precision (surface quality), stability (long tuning period) and easy maintenance as most attractive factors to customers. From their viewpoints, difficulties in use, customers’ low interests, and lack of practicality of its products were rated top 3 problems for 3D printing. However, school education, propagation of makers’ space and development of ease-to-use 3D software may help its popularity. The results of this study may help 3D printer manufacturers and 3D printing service providers to better understand their customers’ behaviors, based on which better 3D printing services and 3D printers can be developed to improve their business.
Lin, Cheng-Jhe; Yang, Chao-Lung; Chen, Chun-Fu; Han, Ching-Cheng; and Liu, Fang-Mei, "What is Needed for Future 3D Printing from Maker’S Viewpoints" (2014). ICEB 2014 Proceedings. 2.