This post is part of our 3D Printing Influencer Series series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
1. What are the top trends you have noticed in 3D Printing?
JB: I actually noticed the novelty of it dying off. People used to buy my designs because they were 3D printed, it was something new and unique. Nowadays it's a bit more commonplace and no longer the main selling point.
2. What is, in your opinion, the industry in which 3D Printing has the greatest disruptive impact?
JB: I don't think it's been very disruptive yet, but once prices drop more, it could be huge in manufacturing for replacement parts for cars and appliances. No need to store countless copies of a product, just store the files and the raw materials.
✅ [3D Printing] will be everywhere, but I don't think it's there to replace every other method or to become a commonplace thing in most households.
3. Would you say that the 3D Printing industry is evolving as rapidly as you anticipated, less rapidly, or about as expected? What makes you say this?
JB: I think it's going slower than I expected. Prices have kept it out of the hands of the common user (at least the most advanced and useful types of printers). Prices went down steeply for a while, but then plateaued again and here we are.
4. What do you see as the most difficult-to-overcome limitations for 3D Printing?
JB: Cost compared to other traditional techniques, which even if the prices go down will still be an issue because prints take time to make, no matter what material you use. It will always be layer by layer, while a mold can pop a full model in less than a second. Time is money, and so the cost will always remain high compared to that.
5. What’s the future of 3D Printing?
JB: I never bought into the whole “everyone will have a 3d printer at home” idea. Why would you? Does that mean you'll need to keep a stock of raw plastic, metal, ceramics, etc in your house as well? Sounds unnecessary. I think it'll expand more into high-quality products, engineering, design, and other fields like medicine and architecture. It will be everywhere, but I don't think it's there to replace every other method or to become a commonplace thing in most households. Let's keep a bit of that novelty aspect to it.
About Joaquin Baldwin
Joaquin is a Layout Supervisor at Walt Disney Feature Animation. He is also a designer and animator from Paraguay, who runs a Shapeways shop with intricate 3D-printed designs. He is the creator of animated shorts that have won over 130 film awards, including honors at Cannes, The Student Academy Awards, USA Film Festival, Cinequest, and many others. He has a MFA in animation from UCLA, and a BFA in animation from CCAD. Since 2010, Joaquin has been working at Disney doing CG Layout (digital cinematography for animated features). He has worked as an artist and supervisor in films such as Zootopia, Wreck-It Ralph, Moana, Frozen and Big Hero 6.