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3D Printers Change the Way We Think and Create

March 16, 2017

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Mulligan Management Group, Dede Mulligan

Imagine this: You access a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program, create some gizmo, store your file on the cloud and make it accessible to anyone with a 3D printer. Seems farfetched right? Not really.

3D printers, for the first time ever, are allowing individuals to customize and print products in the comfort of their own office. While this technology comes with terrific benefits there are few drawbacks that you should be aware of before leasing, renting or purchasing this technology.  

3D Printing on the whole offers you terrific options – whether you are a company engineer trying to show off your latest gadget or a college professor in front of a peer review or a trade show exhibitor providing attendees an on-demand, personalized version of a new product.

 

The Potential Drawbacks

 

As depicted in a recent episode of The Good Wife, 3D printers can print almost anything, without regulation, including a gun. In that episode, a person downloaded and customized the file, printed the gun and took it to a firing range where it misfired and hurt someone.

The episode showed all the things that may be of valid concern in the future, including:  

  • Open source code and files that are available to anyone to customize as they please
  • How weather can impact materials as they print and
  • Who is responsible if anything happens to an individual if something goes wrong

These are all valid concerns, and I believe will be addressed in good time as 3D printers become more the norm.

 

The Business Benefits

 

If you are still questioning what 3D printing is and its benefits, you are not alone. While it is something so cool and revolutionary; without seeing it in action it is hard to describe.

But with the entry of some major players, including HP with its Multi Jet Fusion printer, you will start to see faster, better printing with less waste and ultimately at a lower cost.

Here are some of the benefits of this type of printing:

  • Large companies will have the ability to print several prototypes at a fraction of the cost of previous methods.
    This will allow your creative and engineering teams to experiment with new products and show them to potential customers and/or upper management before going into full blown production.
     
  • Small companies will be able to manufacture a limited number of customized products very inexpensively.
     
  • Start-Ups will be able to print and show off their product idea for investors.
    Can you imagine changing a product spec on the fly and printing several different versions for stakeholders to see and feel?
     
  • Peer reviews will become dimensional.
    In addition to reviewing PowerPoint slides and white papers, reviewers can now see the concept or product they are reviewing.
     
  • Trade show trinkets will be personalized to the attendee.
    Many companies are using 3D printing to provide attendees with what they want. As the cameras within the printer become better and the colors more vibrant look for much more of this technology on the show floor.

    If you want a good example, read how Oreo used it at SXSW last year to personalize their cookies.

In conclusion, I believe 3D printing is well on its way to becoming the next breakout technology and we have only scratched the surface of all it can do for business. However, as it gains general acceptance, the government will be keeping its watchful eye on how the technology is used and I think some regulations are forthcoming.

 

Hartford Technology Rental is Your One-Stop Shop for Printers


We offer a variety of printer rentals suited for all type of businesses and will be keeping our eye on the 3D printing revolution! Call us at 888-520-5667 or request a quote online. Our technical staff will help you select the right solution for your project.

 

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