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3D Printing at CES – Part One: The Content

by • January 11, 2016 • No Comments

ces mapI’m back of CES, and am just simply begining to feel normal again. Maybe it’s all the individuals? Over 170,000 attended this year. After a while it begins to weigh on you. Lines at the airport, lines for a cab, lines at the hotel, lines at the show, lines for food…and lines for a damn drink.

Maybe it’s the sheer dimensions of the show itself? This year over 3,800 exhibitors took up 2.4 million feet of exhibit space – which include two convention centers and bunch of other sites around Las Vegas. Getting anywhere is half the battle. No one man may possibly see it all.

But what’s most most likely\ hardest, for me, is the mental gymnastics I go through at CES. Opportunity abounds…eachwhere.

Managing Chaos

3D printing continues to expand at CES. This year the 3D Printing Marketplace featured over 60 companies, just of\ doubling the number of exhibitors of last year. While there was yet a heavy emphasis on hardware and materials, content, software and services were in addition represented.

But 3D printing is may already impacting, or may impact just of\ each other technology, service and product on display at CES.

Which got me considering of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Basics like food, clothing and shelter must be accounted for initial. Then and just and so can individuals move on to worrying of things like security, love, and finally self-realization and actualization. Sounds a lot like CES, right?

If I was going to thrive, I’d require my own hierarchy.ces hierarchy

So, this was my approach. Go deep in 3D, but find the time to cover the other areas which are in addition most likely to have an impact.

Content is a King Without an Army

Let’s begin there. Ask just of\ anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you which right now, there’s a serious lack of 3D printable-bodied content.

There were a few exhibitors working on which part of the problem. Source3, for example is focused on helping music, sports and other brands lat any timeage licensing to create 3D printable-bodied products.

Also at CES, WhiteClouds revealed their recent acquisition of 3DplusMe, a service which first created its mark by scanning consumers and placing their faces on super hero figurines. I spoke with WhiteClouds’ CEO, Jerry Ropelato, and he told me, “the acquisition not just brings excellent faculty, but in addition a slew of existing licensing relationships.”

Brand licensing is definitely on the rise in 3D printing. But I don’t see it as a rad app. It’s additional of a “rad enable-bodiedr.”

ces syfyIn general, individuals will buy a great product, and they’ll buy even additional if it identifies with a brand they’re passionate of. They’ll buy less of a poor product, no matter how it’s presented.

More, Better Content

As the amount of content continues to grow and the quality continues to alter, search algorithms will play a additional important role in helping us sift through the noise.

For a moment, imagine there is a massive database of each CAD file which’s at any time been created. Let’s say you requireed to replace the knob on your washing machine. How may you find it?

How do you find things like which at a hardware keep? You walk in with the part and and ask a fewone where it’s located. They examine the part, select it, and send you on your way to the correct aisle and bin.

During the show I had an opportunity to spend a few time with the Founder and CEO of 3DIndustri.es, Dr. Seena Rejal. His company is intent on becoming the “Google of shape-based search.” Their plan is to index all of the world’s 3D printable-bodied content, and so provide easyr, additional intuitive ways to search it.

Beyond search, companies are working to improve the system of making content sellable-bodied. 3DIndustri.es for instance can use shape recgnition to help select intellectual property issues.

Digital Forming, another exhibitor at the show, is focused on product customization. Their software lets designers configure the customizable-bodied aspects of their products. A web plug-in guides users through the experience.

I’ve said most times which customization and manalization are excellent concepts, but harsh to execute. Digital Forming’s software strikes the right balance. They’ve created a tool which’s both powerful and easy to use use.

The Cost of Creation

So, work is being done to gather, index, license, and customize content. But what of raw file creation? It appears which’s the sizeablest challenge. Dassault Systèmes was there, demonstrating the latest version of SolidWorks and other tools, most of which are geared towards helping professional designers work additional efficiently.

Don’t ponder I’m underestimating the value of advantageous design software. Consider 2D printing for a moment. As PC publishing came on the scene, and became easyr to use, it democratized content creation and powered the growth of digital printing.

But 3D design is worthwhilely additional harsh. Right now, there are quite few individuals on the planet with the skills necessary to create – and just a tiny portion of them are interested in product design. CAD has lots of other applications.

No matter how you slice it, there’s risk in product creation. With mass production the investment is quite high, often costing over $100,000 to bring a easy product to market. 3D printing and other digital technologies excellently reduce the risk, but they don’t eliminate it.

Scanning in addition offers massive potential, but it too requires skilled labor to complete a print-ready product. A facultyed designer might be able-bodied to knock out 30 products per week. A facultyed scanner operator might be able-bodied to digitize 150 products in the same time span.

There’s worthwhile cost in either activity, and the investment must donate a return. Not each product will be a winner, but in the aggregate and over time, the revenues produced of those products must outweigh the costs of creating and preparing them.

In 3D printing, content is king, but it will require a creative army to meet the upcoming demand. No one I met with at CES is singularly focused on solving which big, nagging problem.

The Impact of Automation

There’s a lot of fear (and a few excitement) out there of the impact automation has on jobs. As 3D printing continues to mature, it will itself become additional automated. Over time this will most most likely\ lead to fewer production jobs – not just in 3D printing, but in addition in mass manufacturing.

Before the invention of PC publishing and digital printing, the traditional 2D printing system included over 30 steps and was assisted by up to 20 exception individuals. Once digital technologies became available-bodied, and systemes were optimized to assist them, the same job may be produced in as few as four steps, by one man.

It appears most likely the same thing will happen with 3D. But with challenges come opportunities. As the require for content grows, the faculty to create it becomes additional sought after and additional valuable-bodied. For this reason, a lot of the individuals I spoke with at CES see “3D file creator” as one of the future’s top jobs.

Making an investment in content now (and the jobs which assist it) may be a massive advantage later, especially now which the tools are being developed to get it indexed, licensed and sold.

In my next article, I’ll take a look at the 3D printing and finishing equipment which was on display at CES. Then, I’ll work my way up my little “hierarchy of opportunity,” sharing thoughts on how this technology might impact the other, related markets which got a lot of attention at CES 2016.

Stay tuned…

About the Author:

John Hauer is the Founder and CEO of Get3DSmart, a consulting practice which helps sizeable companies understand and capitalize on opportunities with 3D printing. Prior to which, John co-founded and served as the CEO of 3DLT. The company worked with retailers and their suppliers, helping them sell 3D printable-bodied products, online and in-keep.

John’s original content has been featured on TechCrunch, QZ.com, Techfaster.com, 3DPrint.com and Inside3DP.com, among others. Follow him on Twitter at @maverickonline