Right now, you have 2 choices when it comes to crochet hooks. You can go to a store and purchase a hook that’s been made in the millions by a manufacturer or you can purchase a hand-carved, custom crochet hook.
In the future, I think there will be a third option. Hang on to your crochet hooks.
What’s wrong with the current options?
When a manufacturer makes a crochet hook, they’re trying to make one that will appeal to a large number of people. Their goal is to sell them by the thousands/millions.
While there are lots of different designs, there might not be a hook that’s perfect for you. Especially if you have small hands or a unique crocheting style.
The hand-carved hooks can be personalized (for example, to fit a smaller hand), but they are pricey. This makes purchasing one ‘just to try out’ out of reach for most consumers.
Crochet Hooks and 3D Printing
Have you heard of 3D printers? They’re basically printers that use a resin (instead of ink) to create a 3D item.
Less than a decade ago, these printers cost tens of thousands of dollars and were only used by researchers and companies. Now, though, there are a selection of 3D printers available in the $500 range, meaning they’re becoming practical for home use.
You probably have purchased a pdf pattern online for knitting, crocheting or sewing. These are usually patterns made by independent designers (like me!) that can be produced without the costs involved with printing & distributing a book.
This model allows independent designers to create patterns for niche markets. For example, a giant company might not be interested in spending thousands to produce a squid pattern, but as a pdf pattern (without much cost overhead), designing an adorable squid is practical! Yay, niches!
I predict the same thing will happen with crochet hook designs. You will be able to purchase 3D Printer Plans for a crochet hook, that you can print on your printer at home.
The cost of these plans would be similar to purchasing a pdf pattern, and would allow the customer to purchase a crochet hook almost exactly to their liking. Independent hook designers will cater to different hand shapes and styles, exactly as they do now with stitching patterns.
Isn’t that such a cool future?
What do you think? Do you see print-at-home hooks in your future?