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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Piracy on the 3D Printed High Seas

Until fairly recently, the word “pirate” conjured up images of either scruffy thieves with a boat, or, for the more romantically inclined, suave, independent entrepreneurs who lived their lives by no laws except those they made for themselves. Nowadays, the word “pirate” is more likely to conjure up images of either Johnny Depp or scruffy thieves with a computer.

If you believe special interest groups like the RIAA, the internet is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where every new movie, book or song is immediately pirated by hordes of Cheetos-eating basement dwellers. In truth, these claims are hard to verify. The pirates are unlikely to come forward in large enough numbers to generate solid statistics and, given the creative accounting performed by major studios, it’s possible the entertainment industry has no real idea where their product goes, or how it gets there. Continue reading