Previously we told you about the results of our community survey amongst 500 members of our 3D Printing community. This is the largest and most in depth desktop 3D printing survey conducted to date. Today we can share you the second part of this survey.
At YouMagine we want to enable collaborative worldwide innovation in 3D printing and build the tools to let people in a distributed way work together to create, remix and share open source technology. We call this Distributed Innovation and want to build the tools for our community to engage in letting more people make better things.
In order to make sure that we are building the right future we want to understand our community and get feedback on what we need to do better. Through this process of letting our community guide our roadmap and development we can also give people an insight into what is happening in 3D printing. We would like to qualify this information to a certain extent however because we would expect our community to skew towards people who have been involved with 3D printing longer & be more open source minded than a random sample of the 3D printing community.
We asked Alexey Butakov to make us some nice illustrations to show off some of the graphs.
Probably the most important thing for our development is the above graphic. We need to improve search and navigation. We’re working hard on this and have adapted our roadmap to the findings. We also received a lot of individual feedback about bugs and issues that need addressing, we found this super helpful also. We’ve identified different types of users whereby we’re generally seeing that one group wants more interaction and collaboration whilst the other seeks quick access to many designs. We’re making lots of quick steps forward on improving our overal design and user experience.
The main thing that needs to be improved is the reliability of the 3D printers. If we drill down into these numbers we can also see that certain issues such as bed adhesion and dialing in new materials is also an issue for people. Reliability not only encompasses machines and in order to improve the overal experience improvements in software, electronics, materials & machines will have to be coordinated. People also want larger build volumes and faster 3D printers. Cost is not an issue for many.
One thing affecting many is warping and bed adhesion. Here we see that it is still critical to get your first layer right. Rather than be a solved issue for many we can see people looking at many different strategies to make materials adhere to beds. The best strategy is also very material dependent and depends on if you have a heated bed or not. Over the past few years a lot of new types of materials have become available for desktop 3D printers. These have exacerbated this problem especially since the best bed adhesion solution differs per material. Personally I’ve taken to washing down my glass heated build plate with a dishwashing soap with a high alcohol content. This degreases it and makes for excellent adhesion. As a YouMagine team we are leaning towards using only soap but some still use glue or tape.
We’re seeing that even though there are a number of products out there to solve the issues. Most people still use glue or blue painter’s tape. Hairspray is also quite a popular solution. There is still scope to as an industry make better beds or come up with better solutions to this issue. Bed adhesion issues and warping are still the leading cause of failed prints. It would make a lot of people really happy if someone solved this issue.
I hope you enjoyed these results, thank you so much to all who participated. The third and final installment of our survey results can be found here.