The Future of Manufacturing

People often talk about what 3D printers will do for volume manufacturing.  But in some ways the biggest impact will be on the one-off, custom made items.  I just experienced an early version of that by designing and building my own little monster!   Here is the original Kickstarter project:

And now they have a website:

The provide a free iPhone application for designing your monster.  You start with a blank monster:

Photo Feb 13, 8 18 03 PM.png

Then you start picking basic "features" of the monster: body color, ears, hands, feet, accessories, etc.  As you select each item it allows you to view them in 3D.  

Photo Feb 13, 8 32 01 PM.png
Photo Feb 13, 8 34 12 PM.png

When you're happy with what you've created, you hit "print" and wait.  The've partnered with Shapeways print it out on their high-end 3D printer and send it to you.   It took me about a week to get it.  While you're waiting you can interact with the monster on the iPhone app (joy!). Here is the design I came up with:

Photo Feb 13, 5 07 53 PM.png

And here is what the result looks like:

Photo Feb 13, 6 32 36 PM.jpg
Photo Feb 13, 6 31 56 PM.jpg

The model has nice details and a good weight.  It was printed on a SLS printer, so it has a "sandy" finish.  The colors are crisp, but there are a few areas of "bleed".  They emailed a notice that there were color issues with this batch, so I can order a replacement if I wanted.  Overall I am very pleased with the result.

The possibilities of this whole process are pretty amazing.  I really believe we are at the cusp of a whole new era in design and individuality!




Posted on February 13, 2014 .