In product marketing terms there are three product categories. Mass produced, mass customized and full custom. Mass customization has traditionally been applied to larger items, such as automobiles. 3D printing seems to be able to allow this to be extended to very inexpensive products. This is really a game changer. It will also promote more local manufacturing. That could be interesting as well.
eBay providing this service illustrates how mainstream 3D printing will become, at lest in terms of reaching consumers. It will be interesting to see if they expand the offering beyond customizing a pool of preset designs (which is obviously limiting on the design side) to provide more generalized services for 3D printing. Excellent report.
I agree, Al. Seeing it on eBay suggests that 3DE printing is coming to the masses. I still talk to people who believe this is a passing fad, but I don't buy that. I remember when people said they would never buy a PC ("I don't need a computer to store recipes"), but that changed quickly when the apps started to become available.
naperlou, You've touch on a key item and that's manufacturing. Wiith 3D printing being common in the Maker community, US Manufacturing is definitely coming back and being supported by this low cost desktop tool. The tech venture between eBay and the three 3D printer companies mentioned in the article is a good business mixture. The ability to sell products using an eBay store allows anyone to become a virtual merchant quite easily. Now, add 3D printing capability and the virtual merchant can not only sell products but manufacture them as well. I see this business model becoming the future norm because of low 3D printer cost and the ease in which to open a virtual store to sell customized products. This business model allows those who are seeking employment to tread in the waters of entrepreneurship. A very cool and fun way to improve the US economy.
Ahan Ebay exact is a very interesting and usefull application . Initially it is not of that much use but in future when 3D Printing will be common more this application will be very usefull. It helps those who cant affoard to buy 3d printers thats really very great and i beleive that in future many more such technologies will be emergng .
I think your reading is correct. I understood the article the same way, only available as an apple app. The selection stinks, I can go to most tourist traps and buy plastic trinkets. I want to 3D print something that I design in my CAD then send to a service like this.
I think the eBay concept is scratching the surface of the wed based sales of 3D printing services.
Kleetus, It looks like there are also design restrictions which only allow users "to choose from a pool of predetermined designs" that they can then "customize" and purchase on the go. Very limited offering at this point.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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