On the weekend, a bunch of Royals pooled their Xmas Kickstarter vouchers and backed the Robo 3D Printer (“The low-cost, open source, easy to use 3D printer we’ve all been waiting for. Help bring your ideas to life, one layer at a time.”). The guys are dead keen to finally get hold of one of the most hyped (deservedly so) technologies of recent times. Apart from designing our own objects, there are libraries of 3D objects and templates online that you can access, download, tweak if need be, and print yourself.
Of course it’s going to be a few years before most people have access to 3D Printers, but they’re already popping up at universities and some schools. Perhaps libraries will be next (“Just heading down to the library to get the next Harry Potter book and to print a Voldemort figurine, Mum.”). And presumedly Officeworks, Snap Printing and other similar retailers will also get these facilities one day.
It’s also quite interesting for brands to start thinking about getting involved. We’ve already seen a growing trend of companies opening up their data sources (in feeds, APIs, platforms etc) but I think more and more brands will begin sharing some of their own industrial designs and shapes for people to mess with. One recent example of this is Nokia providing 3D printing development kits for it’s Lumia 820 accessories. This allows mass customisation and personalisation (which is a reasonably popular activity when it comes to mobiles) and potentially gets the community innovating with, and on behalf of, the company. Inevitably, when our printer, arrives, we’ll probably start taking stubby holders, eating utensils, jewellery and interactive figurine prototypes to our clients to kick off the discussion.
Check out the video the Robo 3D video below if you’d like to see how ‘additive printing’ works: