“Explore Online 3-D Printing Services”
October 25, 2013
An idea that to seemed far off into the future is now a reality. 3-D printing services are available both online and through local enthusiasts. Although the process of 3D printing at first seemed to be expensive and require an extensive amount of scientific knowledge, 3D printing is now available through online services that are as simple as apps. Companies are allowing users to upload images and print objects instead of photographs.
Companies such as Cubify, i.materialise, and Shapeways allow users to buy objects that others have designed and uploaded. Many of the objects are created out of plastic, however in some cases gold-plated brass is used. For example, the plastic versions of i.materialise Ora Pendant only costs less than $7, while the gold-plated version of it could cost around $100. An additional advantage of this 3-D printing is that it allows for customers to upload an image such as the missing piece of your blender and allow you to save the appliance all together instead of having to buy a whole new one because of a missing piece. 3-D printing has also modernized its promotion by allowing users to customize the designs and tweak the products to the exact measurements and style desired.
This new development in 3-D printing allows for users to break the boundaries of the normal shopping experience. Although the technological advancement is a very profound and positive one, the legal barriers have yet to be thought out, I believe. A person wanting an imitation of a Tiffany Co. silver necklace could be able to get it at a much cheaper cost through 3-D printing than they could through the actual store. I believe that what will cause this new development have a bumpy road is the copy rights policies that they will have to create for them. An additional concern is that of the environment. When taking this product abroad or importing it into the United States from a much cheaper source, the environmental implications should be throughout. If most of the products are being created out of plastic, how will this affect our local environments? Not to mention countries that already have environmental issues such as China, how will this affect them. Will the development of biodegradable objects and green objects be a further development in the 3-D printing industry? I certainly hope so.