A little over three years ago I entered the world of 3d printing which combined a whole host of the things I love to do, designing things, making things and the possibility of selling things. A lot has changed in those three years and its an eternity in the fast paced development of 3d printing. What started off as one second-hand, home made printer churning out pretty useless and often unrecognisable star wars characters (I’m not even that big of a fan) for the shelf, is now a farm of 5 semi-professional printers serving individuals and businesses with great quality prints with an ever increasing volume per print run.
I’ve never been one for sitting on an opportunity though, and when the opportunities to print more and more have come to me it has been a case of ‘say yes and then figure out how you’re going to deliver’ or words to that effect, which are spoken by Mr Branson in one of his books. Love him or hate him, he has his own island….I don’t!
So, why look at a technology that has been around for quite some time now? Well, 3d printing technology has progressed significantly in the last 10 years or so. With the improved quality and availability of materials such as PLA, through to more specialist carbon fibre impregnated materials, the potential of using these mid-level machines for producing functional and decorative parts for end-user applications is now a reality. When you mix the ever increasing desire for customisation and product personalisation, an explosion of designers, inventors and startups wanting to take their own unique products to market and the capability to turn an idea to a physical product in a matter of hours, you have the makings of a pretty strong case for satisfying these needs with 3d printing at scale.
So, there you have it…. the makings of….well, lets just see. First things first, I need to make some space for all these new printers!