Will 3D printing work on fitness gear?

http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/workout-clothes-gear/will-3d-printing-work-fitness-gear

Will 3D Printing Work on Fitness Gear?

Will 3D Printing Work on Fitness Gear?

The perfect sneakers, custom leggings—we asked an expert if the 3D printing technology trend could really change the fitness world.

Of all the crazy new advances in tech—new wearable technology that helps you break bad habits, computers you wear on your wrist (hello,Apple watch), even sportsbras that combine wearable tech and fitness gear—hearing about 3D-printed wellness gadgets are one of those things that makes us feel like we’re living in the future. You’re telling me that you can use a printer to make actual, physical objects? It sounds like something straight out of sci-fi.

And while hearing about 3Dprinted houses and makeup is cool, what we’re most interested in is how the new technology will change fitness. Imagine a world where you could 3D print the perfect pair of running shoes, custom molded to your foot, for example.

In fact, Nike, Brooks, and New Balance have all already dabbled in 3D-printed athletic shoes. And custom-printed shoe insoles will soon be on the market: SOLS ($125, sols.com) has you take measurements of your feet using their app, then prints you insoles in any one of a number of fabrics (leather for work shoes, something sweat-wicking for sneakers). Plus, they’re, a fraction of the cost of many orthotics. (Whether you wear insoles or not, you should definitely be stretching your feet post-workout.)

But footwear isn’t the only thing that can benefit from 3D printing. EXO-L is a company that’s creating custom-made ankle braces, designed to keep athletes safer on the field or court. Other companies are offering molded-to-you mouth guards. You can even buy specially fitted, never-slip-out-again headphones ($200, nrml.com). All these products use 3D printing technology for ultra-customized end products. The benefits go way beyond personal comfort, though: 3D printing enables doctors to create comfortable, affordable prosthetics for people missing limbs too. (Check out Team Unlimbited’s e-NABLE blog for more information.)

“3D-printed fitness gear has some serious pros, the most obvious of which is customization,” says Pieter Strikwerda, the co-CEO and founder of 3DPrinting.com. “But also it requires less production time from the idea to the finished product.”

Still, can 3D printed products really stand up to traditionally-made gear, especially higher-end products? Strikwerda says yes. “Printing techniques are getting better every day, and so are the materials being used,” he says. “Look at NASA—they’re using printing techniques to print metal parts for their engines, not only because it’s lighter and more efficient but also because those parts are stronger.” (This fitness equipment just looks like science fiction.)

That said, cautions Strikwerda, “the whole process of 3D modeling and scanning, choosing the right material, and so on is still really complex. It’s not a plug-and-play machine yet.” So we’re not quite at the point where we’ll be able to print out a spare pair of running shoes or fit-like-a-glove leggings from the comfort of our own homes. But until we get there, at least we can finally get our hands on ear buds that won’t slip out during our workout, and insoles that make our run feel better without breaking the bank. That feels pretty futuristic to us.

shape.com

by  | Aug 31, 2015

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3D printed smartwatch

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150817-8-year-old-child-develops-3d-printed-smartwatch-kit-for-kids-to-learn-coding-and-3d-printing.html

8-year-old child develops 3D printed smartwatch kit for kids to learn coding and 3D printing

Due to the successes of the ever expanding maker revolution, it’s becoming more and more evident that 3D printers and basic programming need to be integrated into schools to prepare children for their future. Its therefore fantastic to see that children are already picking up making themselves. Just look at the eight-year-old aspiring programmer and maker Omkar Govil-Nair, who has already developed his very own 3D printed O Watch smartwatch and plans to make it available everywhere through a crowdfunding campaign.

Now we sometimes come across inspiring children who are so quickly and easily taking up programming and 3D printing, but few are as successful as Omkar. Like most eight-year-olds, he will be starting fourth grade this year and loves Star Wars, James Bond and badminton. But unlike most, he also loves working with Arduinos and 3D printing. ‘I got interested in electronics and programming 3 years back when I attended my 2nd Maker Faire. I was inspired by Quin Etnyre then the 12 year old CEO of Qtechknow. Since then I wanted to make my own product,’ he explains about his fascination.

But more than doing just a bit of tinkering, he has actually developed this cool-looking O Watch, an Arduino-based programmable smartwatch that is intended to give kids a bit of experience with programming and 3D design. Planning to bring this cool watch to market, it will come with a complete set of components that can be used to build the watch yourself and customize it with 3D printed cases and colorful straps.

As Omkar explained to 3ders.org, he was inspired by all the buzz around smartwatches. ‘I wanted one for myself. I was doing some Arduino project and decided to make my watch using Arduino compatible components. I thought it will be great if other kids can also make their own watches and that is how the idea was created. I always wanted to have my own company after I read about Quin Etnyre of Qtechnow and met him at Maker Faire in 2014, so looking to launch a crowd funding project,’ he explains. ‘I want to make this kit available with easy-to-use web instructions for other kids like me to make their own smartwatches and learn 3D printing and programming.’

As he goes on to explain, the O Watch is essentially an Arduino IDE build intended for basic use through four buttons. ‘You can program it using Arduino IDE. You can program it to function as a watch with date and time functions from Arduino, you can make games and apps and with the sensor board model you can also measure temperature, humidity, pressure as well as make a compass,’ he says. An integrated color OLED screen and a LiPo batter finishes the kit. One example that the boy already made is a rock-paper-scissors app, illustrating that it is a perfect option for learning some basic programming.

What’s more, Omkar did a lot of the work himself and the rest with the help from his dad. ‘I started learning 3D design using Sketchup about 6 months back with help from my dad and Sketchup video tutorials,’ he explains. They then started designs for a case about five months ago, with an eye on the Bay Area Maker Faire. ‘We tried several designs and printed many versions before we got the basic working model we used for the Maker Faire in May. After that we further improved it a bit to make the edges rounded,’ he explains. All 3D printed parts were completed on a Printrbot Simple Metal and in PLA, with a case taking anywhere between twenty and forty-five minutes to 3D print depending on the settings used.

This fun and impressive watch looks perfect for educational purposes, so it’s fantastic to hear that Omkar and his dad are also planning a crowdfunding campaign, which is set to launch later this month. The specific goal will be to raise funds for further improving designs and developing templates that can be easily used by children for customization and 3D printing options. The father and son duo are also aiming to develop two kits: one with the basic O Watch, and the second with an additional sensor board with a wide range of sensors for more build options. In short, plenty to keep an eye on. You can find the O Watch website here.

3ders.org

by Alec | Aug 17, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150817-8-year-old-child-develops-3d-printed-smartwatch-kit-for-kids-to-learn-coding-and-3d-printing.html

Objects that couldn’t be made before 3D printers existed!

http://gizmodo.com/objects-that-couldnt-be-made-before-3d-printers-existed-1718072112

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Objects That Couldn’t Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

3D printing isn’t just for making unique stuffed animals or weird fake meat. It allows us to fabricate objects we never could with traditional manufacturing. Here are some of the incredible things we can print now, which were nearly impossible to make before.

Personalized Car Parts

3D printing can make car parts that are custom-built for the driver’s body and comfort: an ergonomic steering wheel, for example. Last month, Fortune reported Ford’s partnership with California-based 3D printing company Carbon3D. The automakers themselves can benefit from 3D printed parts, too. Instead of the ol’ Ford assembly line, engineers can make manufacturing and design more iterative with 3D printed materials, since prototyping suddenly becomes faster and cheaper and testing becomes more frequent and thorough.

You see, many products—from drinking cups to video game consoles to car parts—are created in a process called “injection molding.” That’s when a material, like glass or metal or plastic, is poured into a mold that forms the product. But with 3D printing, you can design a crazy object on your computer, and it can be turned into reality.

“3D printing bridges the gap between the digital and the physical world,” says Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot, “and lets you design pretty much anything in digital form and then instantly turn it into a physical object.”

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Lighter Airplanes

There have been lots of materials used to make planes lighter, and thus more fuel efficient and greener. But 3D-printed materials can cut weight by up to 55%, according to Airbus, which announced its involvement with 3D printing last year.

In February, Australian researchers unveiled the first 3D-printed jet engine in the world.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

3D-printed polymers often have “high strength to weight ratios,” says Kristine Relja, marketing manager at Carbon3D, the same company that’s working with Ford on the 3D-printed car parts. 3D-printed plane parts use that strength-to-weight ratio to their advantage. It gives them an edge over traditional materials, like the aluminum often found in seat frames.

“If the arm rest of each seat of a plane were replaced with a high strength to weight ratio part, the overall weight of the plane would drop, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering the overall cost of the plane,” Relja says.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Detailed Molds of Your Jaw

Possibly the arena 3D printing handedly dominates is personal health. Our bodies are unbelievably individualized, idiosyncratic flesh bags filled with biological items uniquely shaped to each person. Since customization is so critical, especially in surgical implants, 3D printing can really shine here.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Let’s start with dental trays: Those molds of your chompers that’re made with gross cement stuff that you have to leave in your mouth for minutes on end. They’re useful because they can help dentists and orthodontists create appliances like retainers or braces, and can give them a three dimensional, kinesthetic mold of your mouth.

Over at Stratasys, the 3D printing company that owns MakerBot, 3D-printed dental trays are going from CAD file to model, blazing trails in orthodontics. It gives orthodontists and dentists a cheap, accurate glimpse into a patient’s maw. It’s way easier than those nasty physical impressions with the cement, and way less gag-inducing.

Customized Surgical Stents

Stents are those little tubes surgeons stick in the hollow parts of your body—a blood vessel or artery, say—to hold it open and allow it to function properly. Usually, they’re mesh, but stents that are 3D-printed can have an edge, since they’re able to be customized more and are made with cheaper, flexible polymers that can dissolve safely into the bloodstream in a couple years.

At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center, a 17-year-old girl was suffering from an aortic aneurysm, a potentially fatal heart condition that was discovered with a precautionary EKG. That’s when Dr. Daisuke Kobayashi and his team turned to 3D printing. A 3D printed model of her heart allowed the doctors to know exactly where to put stents in an otherwise delicate operation for a young patient.

In other cases, the surgical stents themselves are 3D printed: University of Michigan doctors have also implanted 3D-printed stents just above infant boys’ lungs to open their airways help them breathe normally on their own. The advantage of using 3D printing here is that doctors were able to create custom stents that could fit the kids’ individual anatomies, quickly and cheaply.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Buckyballs

No, not the tiny magnetic choking hazards. We’re talking about models of Buckminsterfullerene, the molecule. It’s every chemistry teacher’s dream. 3D printers can produce tangible, big models of molecules. And they’re accurate, too. This type of complex geometry is really hard to pull off with injection molding. The closest thing we had before was basically popsicle sticks and Elmer’s.

3D printing not only helps us learn more about what molecules look like by making lifesized models of them—it also helps us make actual molecules. Earlier this year, Dr. Martin Burke at the University of Illinois led the construction of a “molecule-making machine”: It’s a machine that synthesizes small, organic molecules by welding over 200 pre-made “building blocks” and then 3D printing billions of organic compound combinations. This could “revolutionize organic chemistry,” the paper in the journal Science reported, significantly speeding up the process to test new drugs.

What’s cool about 3D printing is that it makes ambitiously designed objects way more feasible. Specifically, 3D printing can make those “complex geometries” that injection molding can’t: That is, stuff that’s in obscure shapes, like long twisty mobius strips or zillion-sided polygons.

Replacement Parts for Your Organs

3D printing can be used to make surgically-implanted hardware that protects or supports damaged organs. This could lead the way to custom repairs for damaged tracheas or windpipes, for instance. Sometimes part of a windpipe needs to be removed, but the two remaining ends need to be joined together—if they can’t be joined together, the patient may die.

3D bioprinting to the rescue! It can replicate the mechanical properties of the trachea. That’s right: a living, biological tracheal replacement can be made from a mix of 3D printing and tissue engineering. That’s what the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research did. They modified a 3D printer to use a syringe filled with living cells that produce collagen and cartilage. Within hours, bioengineered tracheas can be created on-the-spot quickly and cheaply. And that’s a key strength for 3D printing: fast prototypes.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Organs and Bones

The most futuristic use of for these magical printers? They could, one day, create internal organs. That’s a literal lifesaver for folks who need an organ transplant. Also possibly available: eyes, blood vessels, noses, ears, skin, and bones. Even hearts.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

And this isn’t just science fiction. In 2013, medical company Organovo started selling 3D-printed liver tissue. It’ll be a while before a fully functioning liver can be printed, but it’s a big step in the right direction, even if it just means prototypes and experimental liver-like structures.

As if that wasn’t incredible enough, we can also create replicas of people’s existing internal organs. With the help of CT scan data, docs can whip up three dimensional, touchable copies of individuals’ guts, in all their nuanced, unique glory. This can help medical professionals better find tumors or other irregularities. (Not to mention it could possibly take the gross awesomeness out of biology class dissections.)

And already, companies are creating cheap, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for kids. A whole generation is growing up with 3D printing — not just as a toy, but a vital part of their bodies.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

gizmodo.com

by Bryan Lufkin | 8/11/15 4:34pm

Startup hopes to revolutionize construction with 3D printing

http://www.manufacturing.net/news/2015/07/startup-hopes-to-revolutionize-construction-with-3d-printing

Startup Hopes To Revolutionize Construction With 3D Printing

A Tennessee startup company’s 3D printing technology could enable builders to create strong, lightweight structures while dramatically cutting costs.

Branch Technology, based in Chattanooga, uses a technique called cellular fabrication to print matrices that serve as the internal structure for buildings.

A matrix weighing 2.5 pounds and complemented with spray foam, for example, can support nearly 3,000 pounds, and the process could reportedly reduce construction costs from thousands of dollars per square foot to as little as $80.

Conventional 3D printing gradually applies layers of plastic to create a structure; cellular fabrication, by contrast, prints a combination of plastic and carbon fiber into solid building material.

The system can create a structure up to 25 feet wide and 58 feet tall at the construction sites themselves.

“We fit them together like big Lego blocks on site,” founder and CEO Platt Boyd told Fortune.

Once printed, builders can add concrete, insulation or other materials to the structure.

“It’s the real deal,” Boyd said.

Branch thus far raised just more than $900,000 in funding and hopes to acquire another $1.5 million. The company is also sponsoring a home design competition in an effort to apply the technology at scale.

manufacturing.net

by Andy Szal | Thu, 07/30/2015 – 2:39pm

First 3D printed Supercar!

http://3dprint.com/74810/3d-printed-supercar-blade/

bladefeatured

World’s First 3D Printed Supercar is Unveiled – 0-60 in 2.2 Seconds, 700 HP Motor – Built from Unique Node System

The automobile industry has been relatively stagnant for the past several decades. While new car designs are released annually, and computer technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, the manufacturing processes and the effects that these processes have on our environment have remain relatively unchanged. Over the past decade or so, 3D printing has shown some promise in the manufacturing of automobiles, yet it has not quite lived up to its potential, at least according to Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of a company called Divergent Microfactories (DM).

dm1

Today, at the O’Reilly Solid Conference in San Francisco, Kevin Czinger is about to shock the world with a keynote presentation he will give titled, “Dematerializing Auto Manufacturing.”

“Divergent Microfactories is going to unveil a supercar that is built based on 3D printed parts,” Manny Vara of LMG PR tells 3DPrint.com. “It is very light and super fast — can you say faster acceleration than a McLaren P1, and 2x the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron? But the car itself is only part of the story. The company is actually trying to completely change how cars are made in order to hugely reduce the amount of materials, power, pollution and cost associated with making traditional cars.”

The vehicle, called the Blade, has 1/3 the emissions of an electric car and 1/50 the factory capital costs of other manufactured cars.  Unlike previous 3D printed vehicles that we have seen, such as Local Motors’ car that they have printed several times, DM’s manufacturing process differs quite a bit. Instead of 3D printing an entire vehicle, they 3D print aluminum ‘nodes’ which act in a similar fashion to Lego blocks. 3D printing allows DM to create elaborate and complex shaped nodes which are then joined together by off-the-shelf carbon fiber tubing. Once the nodes are printed, the chassis of a car can be completely assembled in a matter of minutes by semiskilled workers. The process of constructing the chassis is one which requires much less capital and other resources, and doesn’t require the extremely skilled and trained workers that other car manufacturing techniques rely on. The important goal that DM is striving for, and it appears they have accomplished, is the reduction of pollution and environmental impact.

Individual 3D printed aluminum nodes

Today, Czinger and the rest of the team at Divergent Microfactories will be unveiling their first prototype car, the Blade.

“Society has made great strides in its awareness and adoption of cleaner and greener cars,” explains CEO Kevin Czinger. “The problem is that while these cars do now exist, the actual manufacturing of them is anything but environmentally friendly. At Divergent Microfactories, we’ve found a way to make automobiles that holds the promise of radically reducing the resource use and pollution generated by manufacturing. It also holds the promise of making large-scale car manufacturing affordable for small teams of innovators. And as Blade proves, we’ve done it without sacrificing style or substance. We’ve developed a sustainable path forward for the car industry that we believe will result in a renaissance in car manufacturing, with innovative, eco-friendly cars like Blade being designed and built in microfactories around the world.”

Assembling of the 3D printed nodes and carbon fiber tubing to construct the chassis

The Blade is one heck of a supercar, capable of going from 0-60 MPH in a mere 2.2 seconds. It weighs just 1,400 pounds, and is powered by a 4-cylinder 700-horsepower bi-fuel internal combustion engine that is capable of using either gasoline or compressed natural gas as fuel. The car chassis is made up of approximately 70 3D printed aluminum nodes, and it took only 30 minutes to build the chassis by hand. The chassis itself weighs just 61 pounds.

“The body of the car is composite,” Vara tells us. “One cool thing is that the body itself is not structural, so you could build it out of just about any material, even something like spandex. The important piece, structurally, is the chassis.”

Kevin Czinger, Founder and CEO, Divergent Microfactories, Inc. with the Blade Supercar

The initial plan is for DM to scale up to an annual production of 10,000 of these limited supercars, making them available to potential customers. This isn’t all though, as DM doesn’t merely plan on just being satisfied by manufacturing cars via this method. They plan on making the technology available to others as well. On top of selling these supercars, they will also sell the tools and technologies so that small teams of innovators and entrepreneurs can open microfactories and build their own cars, based on their own unique designs. Whether it is a sedan, pickup truck or another type of supercar, it is all possible with this proprietary 3D printed node technology.

Pre-painted Blade supercar

The node-enabled chassis of cars built using this unique 3D printing method, are up to 90% lighter, much stronger, and more durable than cars built with more traditional techniques. Could we be looking at a great ideology change within the automobile manufacturing industry? Lighter, stronger, more durable, more affordable, environmentally satisfying vehicles are definitely something that just about anyone should consider a step in the right direction.

3D printing has been touted as a technology of the future, for the future, enabling individual customization of many products. Now, the ability for entrepreneurs to enter an industry previously overrun by huge corporations could mean a future with individualized, custom vehicles which perform and appear just the way we want them. If Divergent Microfactories has a say, this will be our future, and that future isn’t too far off.

pre-painted Blade supercar

What do you think about this 3D printed supercar? Do you like the idea of entrepreneurs having an opportunity to fabricate their own line of vehicles? Is DM onto something with this unique method of automobile manufacturing? Discuss in the Divergent Microfactories 3D Printed Supercar Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

blade1

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 24, 2015

Extinct rhinos and 3D printing

http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/08/3d-printing-rhino-horns-stop-poaching/

rhinopopulation

Can 3D Printing Save Rhinos From Going Extinct?

With large-scale poaching causing the once-abundant rhino population to dip to extinction levels, one Seattle-based biotech startup has come up with a deceivingly simple idea to stave demand of the rhino’s coveted horns: fake it.

Pembient, founded earlier this year, is working with rhino horn powder in its labs in order to develop solid rhino horn substitutes, by “duplicating the cells, proteins and deposits in a rhino horn so the synthetic version is genetically similar to the real thing,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The fascinating part? They’re doing it by using 3D printing. Making something go from this …

Embedded image permalink

To this … (the one in the middle is the fake one)

Embedded image permalink

It’s unclear how exactly Pembient’s making the products, but as TechCrunch explained, “Rhino horns are composed of a specific kind of keratin protein. Pembient figured out the genetic code and was then able to reproduce the horns using the keratin in a 3D-printing technique.”

After Pembient CEO Matthew Markus showed a TechCrunch reporter one of their horn prototypes, Markus said, “You can’t physically tell the difference. No one looking at this could tell this wasn’t from a rhino. It’s the same thing. For all intents and purposes, this is a real rhino horn.”

Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are considered a cure-all for many types of illnesses, driving a devastating global black market. Pembient’s goal is to replace this illegal, $20 billion wildlife trade with fabricated wildlife products, such as rhino horn and elephant ivory, at prices below the levels that induce poaching.

“We surveyed users of rhino horn and found that 45 percent of them would accept using rhino horn made from a lab,” said Pembient. “In comparison, only 15 percent said they would use water buffalo horn, the official substitute for rhino horn.”

Markus also told New Scientist that Vietnamese rhino horn users have said that Pembient’s manufactured rhino powder has a similar smell and feel to wild rhino horns. If all goes to plan, the fake horns could be on the market by next fall at a tenth of the price of illegal ones, the publication reported.

However, conservationists have pointed out that the company’s plan doesn’t placate global demand for real rhino horns, especially in countries where it’s considered a status symbol to own one.

rhino

“The synthetic horns will not have an impact on current rhino horn users that want real horns from dead rhinos,” Douglas Hendrie, technical advisor at Education for Nature–Vietnam told New Scientist.

We’ve seen 3D printers do some pretty incredible things, from “printing” sustainable food to tackling plastic waste. Can this new technology help save the rhino?

ecowatch.com

by  | May 8, 2015 9:15 am

3D printed selfie!

The ‘Ultimate Selfie’ Made Possible!

http://goo.gl/ZCbcM2

G

According to one 3D printing CEO, people are underestimating the potential demand for this product. Here’s why.

In the following video, 3D printing specialist Steve Heller interviews Conor MacCormack, CEO of Mcor Technologies, an Ireland-based 3D printing company that uses ordinary copy paper as the primary material in its printers, during EuroMold 2014, the world’s largest 3D printing conference, held in Frankfurt, Germany, in November.

The pair talk about the rise of the 3D-printed selfie and what it’ll take to reach critical mass. Ultimately, MacCormack believes Mcor’s suite of full-color 3D printers that have significantly lower operating costs — up to five times cheaper than the full-color competition — are well suited to drive the price of the 3D-printed selfie down to an attractive price point.

Steve Heller: We’ve seen a lot of these 3D-printed-selfie booths, if you will, around the EuroMold show. I know a lot of the technology uses a Z Corp technology, right, 3D Systems-based multi-material, full-color technology?

Conor MacCormack: Yes.

Heller: I was wondering if you could talk about the evolution of that. Is this the real deal? Right now, a 3D-printed selfie could be anywhere from $50 to $300, as you were saying earlier. Obviously, that price point needs to come down. You think that maybe Mcor could be a good fit for that.

MacCormack: Yes, I think people have underestimated — I don’t know how many people have said it to me here over the last two days. People have underestimated how big that [3D printed selfie] market is growing.

People thought it was a bit of a gimmicky idea. Who’s going to get a scan of themselves or whatever, and what will be the function of it? But they’re missing the point that if you can connect with somebody on an emotive level…

It’s something very strange about looking at yourself or someone that you know in a 3D printed sense. It’s a bit of fun, and that’s fine. It doesn’t all have to be part of a jet engine or something that goes into an aircraft. It’s fine to have something that’s a bit of fun.

When you look at these models here, something that’s pure white or something that’s full color, people are going to gravitate toward the full color, so the higher color quality is going to really only expand that market. I think that whole size of the industry is going to get really, really big.

If you look at, say, for example, photographs, the 2D photograph industry, I believe that’s a $200-$300 billion industry, and that industry is in a bit of a decline as maybe people are printing their images in different ways. That’s a real, real good opportunity for people in the 3D printing sense to actually tap into that.

I keep on calling these the “ultimate selfie.” When you turn on your Instagram instantly, the first thing it does is it’s pointing back at you — it’s not pointing out. We’re in that nation. We’re in that kind of era where people are taking scans of themselves and photographs of themselves, so I think people are underestimating the desire and the demand to print that.

When you want to get something that you’d have in your home or give to somebody as a gift, the two big things are price point and then the color quality.

If price point and color quality are the two big drivers in there, then we’re [Mcor is] very, very well, perfectly suited for that because running cost, as I said earlier we can be in full color maybe five times cheaper. Something that’s into that price range, something that’s $25, we’re $5. That’s the kind of things that we’re talking about. It’s big, big changes.

That means that people can set up businesses, people can become [3D printing service] bureaus. They can buy [3D printer] machines and they can offer the service. You will see this all over.

The [3D] scanners are becoming really, really small. You don’t need the big booths or a big investment, to get a big photo booth. You can get a scanner to fit over your iPad, you can use your mobile phone and scan people.

That’s getting better and better, literally on a month-per-month basis, and it’s all software-driven. It’s new algorithms that make the color matching better, make the geometry better, and then you’re going to be at the sweet spot where people will say, “Yes, that’s good enough quality. That’s the right price point for a gift. I’m not going to pay $300 for it, but I’ll pay maybe $30 for it.”

There is a number in there that actually will really accelerate it, and then it’s a case of can we make them fast enough, and how many machines are needed to tap into that massive market?

FOOL.COM
by Steve Heller, Fool Contributor | Feb 8, 2015 at 11:15AM