Out of all practical 3D printing uses, it seems that 3D printers creating furniture has been a little slower moving into the mainstream. While furniture created on 3D printers is common, the process has perhaps been slower to catch on with the public because of a mistaken thought a 3D printed chair wouldn't be sturdy enough. That might have been wrong thinking considering most 3D printed items are very durable, despite many products being made out of ABS plastic.
We may see a new road ahead of 3D printed furniture thanks to a company taking a novel approach to the concept. The problem they're tackling is the ability to print a piece of furniture from a consumer 3D printer at home. No home-based printer has been able to do that yet for the obvious reasons of size being a factor. The company 3Dnatives is attempting to take a Makerbot consumer printer and print out a chair in multiple pieces for later assembly.
While that might sound daunting to those who've had to assemble things, keep in mind that most assembled items usually come from foreign countries. This company intends to make these pieces relatively easy to assemble to a point where you can create a very sturdy chair. Their new concept (called "Bits and Parts") is intended as an experiment to perhaps go forward in printing other furniture the same way in the future.
Whether people will warm to such an idea is another question. Will consumer 3D printers be printing all of our furniture for us in another decade?
The Act of Assembly
While 3Dnatives admits that assembly might be more challenging than the actual printing, they also remind that it takes hundreds of hours to print all the chair parts. But it's guaranteed to be durable once assembled based on its wooden base. Regardless, you have to assemble it from the center outward, which could get complicated for some people.
We have to consider this an early step as some areas of 3D printing still are. In another decade, there isn't a question we'll be printing almost everything on a 3D printer out of our homes. Whether it would still involve assembly for furniture, the pieces would likely be fewer and the time it takes much less. It means a possible era of designing our homes from within rather than the traditional method of buying everything in a furniture store.
For many, that means a lot of time and money saved when furnishing a first-time home takes more time and money than we usually have.