Thursday, 25 June 2015

Manufacturing Renaissance: Ubiquitous Instant Production (Part-VII)
Retail 3DP: Going High Street Shopping?

3DP is now rolling-out on to the shopping mall, high street and eventually the convenience store. Where you can now purchase a 2D inkjet printer or uses a photocopier or buy printer cartages now, you will soon find a 3DP systems to purchases or make use of.

Look inside these stores and you will see many and multiple kind of 3DP kit. Some the size of a microwave oven, some the size of a large double refrigerator and a few the size of a small room. Most of the machines have viewing windows. Look inside each one of them and you will see a gross range of components being manufactured: a prosthetic leg part; a clown’s nose; a lamp shade, a toy car, and an assortment of gismos to strange to mention.

But that just scratches the surface. Until recently when engineers said 3DP shops they were referring to professional bureaus and prototyping specialists. However, the very first 3DP shops are opining now.

MakerBot, producer of the Replicator 3DP, have opened a 3D store in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York. It is a kind of bureau-cum-gallery-cum-showroom-cum-expertise knowledge centre. Displaying interesting examples of work done on site and the work of associates such a ‘Thingiverse,’ the open source website that enables users to down load their designs and display under the creative commons licensing agreement.

The distinction between incumbent and quite remote bureaus is that it is an immersive experience with real-world activities, such 3D designers and artisan designing and producing their wares on site. The customer can asked the simplest of naive questions. It exposes them to a future they can touch (a secret to selling future ideas and trends by the way!). Others are now opening.

Deezmaker, is the first 3D store on the West Coast of America, in Pasadena (where Idea factory is located). Deezmaker sells Kickstarter Bukobot for $600, selling other Brands of 3DP as well.

Staples wholesale are rolling out a 3DP service across the EU that enables designers, engineers or hobbyist to upload custom designs and pick up the finished objects at their neighbouring Staples Warehouse. Others high street outlets include Maplin, the well known British electronic component retailer; The Colour Company, the reprographics franchise; iMakr, who have put together the largest 2,500 sq.ft 3DP store thus far; and Replicator Warehouse in the historic Elephant and Castle, London.

All this is a bell weather toll for the future of advanced RM 3DP. Imagine if you will, 10 years hence? How many high street shopping precincts, malls and convince stores are there in the US alone? Now extend that to Europe, Asia and, well at this stage it boggles the mind. But again, Retail 3DP is yet another GigaMarket in the making.

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