3D printing is a very interesting form of manufacturing technology that is already beginning to blow away the doors of traditional manufacturing and machining in some situations. The intricate products and prototypes that are being developed through 3D printing can hold a wide variety of details, colors, textures, and features. In a nutshell, this technology can create some pretty cool stuff!
Currently, 3D printing is used by a wide variety of individuals and companies. Some small businesses have a few desktop 3D printers lying around in the office to create prototypes. Some larger corporations have miniature factories that can produce a wide variety of models. Many hobbyist designers have their own “home” 3D printer. These home printers can cost anywhere from $800 – $4,000. From these printers, hobbyists are creating a variety of products, typically from ABS plastic. Printers are available for anyone to buy if capital isn’t an issue, but unfortunately it is. Not everyone can simply spend around $1,000 on a machine for hobby purposes. Where there is an issue there, the private companies all over the world are jumping on it! If money can be made off of a service, there will also be competition. Let me jump into the service companies that offer 3D printing.
Various companies like Kraftwurx, Shapeways, Sculpteo, I.Materialise, and Ponoko are offering 3D printing to the masses at an international level. Why spend thousands of dollars on a machine when you can let someone else do that? These companies allow for users to submit their designs to be manufactured through 3D printing. Most orders range from $50 – $150 at these companies, and you get 100% unique 3D printed products. Most of these companies host a store of user submitted models that you can have manufactured.
Submitting your own models for manufacturing is an entirely custom engine; the models have to be designed by you, and they will be manufactured for you. These companies are promoting the technology known as 3D printing, and they are making it easy to get YOUR work manufactured. However, let’s say that you’re interesting in your own custom products – but don’t know much about design. You could always hire up a designer to work for you, but that definitely isn’t free. Most novice designers work at $15 – $20 an hour. Definitely not free. Is there any cost effective solution to providing truly unique designs to consumers who lack design skills?
Fortunately, there is some progress. Shapeways offers a couple softwares that allow for the customization of various ceramics. Shapeways even worked with to Industry Structure Analysis Ppt allow for your own custom songs to be printed on ipod cases. Pretty interesting huh? There isn’t too much outside of Shapeways offering true customization.
Actually, there is software being developed right now. Kraftwurx will be launching a truly custom engine that allows for the adjustment of various products by users who don’t have any design experience. Placing images, text, Light Industrial Jobs and curves on shapes will be very easy through the software that is expected to launch within the next year. Only time will tell! Hopefully these companies will work to stay competitive, giving consumers the best experience.

By master