Check out this 3D printed product mobile store app from eBay that brings together designs from Sculpteo, Hot Pop Factory, and MakerBot, with many of the products offering light customization features. While custom 3D printed items have been available online for several years now, it is rare to see a cluster of these services band together to sell under the same roof.
eBay tends to expose large mainstream audiences to items that might otherwise been more niche, so it is perhaps with the inverse economies of scale in mind that come with using a rapid prototyper or desktop 3D printer as a production machine that the level of user design customization for these items is much more constrained than the typical “customize your product!” web app. The “Customize” features in some cases are limited to a few tweaks such as color, material, and shape — more precisely like a traditional retail catalog, despite the vast difference in manufacturing methods.
No doubt the store app aims to market itself primarily to selling 3D printed pieces to audiences without access and direct exposure to 3D printers, who find the colors, materials, and designs fresh compared to traditionally manufactured fashion accessories they are more familiar with. From that perspective, the store offers a number of striking designs that are likely to gain solid followings.
These pieces are priced in a few cases a little higher than rival services that offer more range of options or more customization such as Cubify Store, Shapeways, i.Materialise — and even than the Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory direct services themselves. I wonder if this it to emphasize the sense of “exclusivity” that comes with owning custom 3D printed objects, more like a retail product with an exclusive, limited edition cross-branded version. These prices in many cases, however, are not unreasonable, and tend to be more affordable than, for instance, built-to-order Etsy products or hughstreet boutiques.
Who back in the 2009/2010 “democratize manufacturing” era of desktop 3D printing’s history would have expected the following statement in the catalog description for a product printed on a desktop 3D printer: “Our limited edition watch is available in one style made exclusively for eBay.” (Note “limited,” “one style,” “exclusive,” and “for eBay,” for starters. )
On the other side of the fence, one unusual touch from the consumer product perspective: buyers are warned at the bottom of each product page that “This item cannot be returned.”
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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!