3D Printing Christmas List


http://www.flickr.com/photos/bartfields/
Oh Santa please bring me,

1. Accessibility to a wide consumer base

2. Libraries of useful everyday items

3. Stations/Kiosks that are easy to use

4. Recyclable materials that can be reprocessed into other products

5. Eager industrial designers and engineers looking to develop new 3D products

6. Smaller printer machine sizes...

-3D Printing

Mcor 3D Printer

Why I'm Not Fighting Back Against Developments In 3D Printing

The Economist ran an article title "The PC All Over Again" that talked about the potential backlash 3D printers will see from traditional manufacturers. Specifically the sub title mentioned "toy makers" which peeked my interest since that is the day job. Many of the comments point out that for many products it will be a while before home 3D printers can economically recreate mass produced products. Though I tend to agree with the comments I do see the writer's point that some clarifications on IP will be required to further additive manufacturing at a consumer level. That's not to say I believe most manufacturers will fight progress, it would be wrong for them to do so. From the article:
Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge, an advocacy group in Washington, DC, fears that the fledgling technology could have its wings clipped by traditional manufacturers who see it as a threat to their livelihoods. Because a 3D printer can make perfect replicas of many kinds of object, manufacturers may seek to brand it a “piracy machine” and demand additional measures to protect their traditional way of doing business. Mr Weinberg worries that they may behave rather like the record industry did when its own business model—based on selling pricey CD albums that few music fans wanted, instead of cheap single tracks they craved—came under attack from Napster and other file-swapping networks.
Sure, some companies are bound to fight to protect ideas and property that they have created. They are right to do so, but demanding protecting of an existing way of business has not proved fruitful in the past. Just ask any record company how that worked out for them. Then go take a look at the results of another approach. Here's a graph of the stock price of a company that decided to embrace the new developments in music and leverage technology to create an entirely new revenue stream.

Looks pretty nice. It's a little unfair to pull in Apple's performance since they have so many other products, but no one can deny that iTunes has helped to drive growth since debuting in Jan 2001. Other companies, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, have picked up where record companies left off by developing new offerings independent of old business models. Additionally the rise of easy distribution allowed many creators to capture some success. From new acts Justin Beiber, who broke through via hit YouTube videos, to established bands like Radiohead, the first major act to dabble with a "pay-what-you-want" self publishing model, many have benefited from the new developments in technology.

Most likely there are entire products lines that have yet to be dreamed up for this new manufacturing technique, 3D Printing. To liken things back to the music analogy, think of podcasts. Weekly live recordings or topical information would have been completely useless prior to iTunes and other distribution methods. There are ample opportunities for innovative companies to grab hold of 3D printing and develop products that utilize the benefits of 3D printing to satisfy the needs and demands of consumers. As a toy maker I am not preparing to fight back the advances in technology. Instead I am eager to see even more new developments and take on the challenge of innovative in a space that is still undefined.

Read more on the developments in 3D Printing

3D Printing: The New Office Supply

In a recent article I mentioned that there would need to be development in infrastructure before personalized 3D printing would be popular. Well, a step in that direction was made when Staples announced a partnership with Mcor Technologies. From recent discussions with Mcor’s Co-Founder Conor Maccormack, also found here on 3DEngr, I knew that the Iris printer was going to be launched and that Mcor had some “great partnerships” in the works but this one goes beyond my expectations. The “Staples Easy 3D” program is slated to put an Mcor Iris on location in Staples stores and customers will be able to upload files to the Staples website and then either go into the store to pickup or have the item shipped.

For the initial launch in early 2013 the focus will be on the Netherlands and Belgium. Staples is obviously a massive name though, and with 1800+ stores spread over the US and Canada (per their corporate website; wikipedia says over 2000 stores in 26 countries) they have the reach to roll out a print and pickup service that is accessible to millions of customers.

Point of Sale Production - The factory comes to the checkout aisle

From Pinkberry to build a bear there are plentiful examples of companies that offer point of sale production. Point of sale production, or POSP, is the creation of a final production right where someone wants it. Starbucks does this with coffee offering up a unique drink that is hand crafted as soon as you tell the barista what you would like. Popular yogurt shops, like Pinkberry or Red Mango, offer consumers the ability to customize their desert through both self serve and specified orders. In food service this is of course common, short order delis have been doing it for years, and though it can be very costly to stock such a variety of ingredients they continue to make this business work.  More interestingly though businesses are being built around actual on site production of traditional CPGs (Consumer Packaged Goods).


That means taking this:


Sewing Machine - Photo from flickr user http://www.flickr.com/photos/nayukim/

Adding it to this:
Holiday Shopping that to Flickr User http://www.flickr.com/photos/bensonkua/


And delivering this:

Build a bear holiday doll


 
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