Consumer Products

Amazon Tests Print-on-Demand Services

Even if you never feel the need to own a 3D printer of your very own, the odds are fair you may want to take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) at some point for a special gift, hard to find item, or just for the novelty. Print-on-demand manufacturing is a growing business, already operating at enough volume for companies such as Shapeways to build their own dedicated factories.

Following the general modus operandi of, “If it’s sold online, we want a piece of the action,” Amazon has taken note of the potential for sales in the print-on-demand market. The result is a partnership with 3DLT to launch a pilot program offering both print-on-demand items and digital designs ready to be printed at home, or at the office if you are sneaky enough.

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3D Systems is Toying Around with Additive Manufacturing

When I was a kid, we didn’t have the panoply of interactive media that surrounds children today. Sure, we had video game consoles, but I didn’t know any kids that spent more time playing Nintendo than they spent playing with other kids and, particularly, with a broad range of toys. The toys are still around, but it seems to me they frequently take the back seat to technological distractions. Maybe a shake-up is in order.

That could be part of the thinking behind the recent moves on the part of 3D Systems. Signs that the additive manufacturing (AM) giant has been leaning toward 3D printing as entertainment began with the acquisition of Gentle Giant Studios, strengthened with the announcement of a partnership with Hasbro, and became a certainty with 3D Systems’ latest acquisition, Digital PlaySpace. Continue reading

Artiphon and 3D Printing Make Sweet Music Together

If asked to list the fields in which additive manufacturing (AM) has had a big impact most people probably wouldn’t think to add music. 3D printed instruments are a thing, as are reproductions of vinyl records, and MakerBot is making the mixtape cool again by printing out a cassette tape body for a flash drive filled with music.

Artiphon is using AM to help create and share music with the introduction of the INSTRUMENT 1, a music machine that has carved out a new product category the company has dubbed the multi-instrument. With assistance from an iPhone or iPod, the INSTRUMENT 1 can be strummed like a guitar or banjo, placed on a musician’s shoulder like a violin, or placed flat across the lap to produce steel drum and drum pad sounds. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: Patent News, KamerMaker, Dell, Valentine’s Day

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

We’ll start today’s Roundup with some patent news. Royal DSM has won a patent dispute in Europe concerning the development of materials for stereolithography. The patent in question, EP1232198, titled, UV Curable Compositions, was held by 3D Systems. The successful challenge allows DSM to expand its Somos brand of stereolithography materials, and opens the door for other companies to do the same. Continue reading

3D Printing Your Own Wardrobe Inches Forward

So you say you have no use for 3D printed cellphone covers, no desire for building statuettes in your own image, and see no practical value in owning a home additive manufacturing (AM) system? What if it could make your clothes? Real clothes, not like the crazy outfits you see on the catwalk.

Tamicare is well on its way to bringing 3D printed textiles to the public, but other companies are hard at work on the same project. San Francisco-based Electroloom is planning to bring together 3D printing and clothing design by the end of 2014, and to accomplish its goals in an environmentally friendly manner.