Have you heard of Shapeways yet?
No? Well, you should most definitely change that and I will gladly help you out!
When I first heard of 3D printing I was amazed. Remember my first post? I wanted to print myself a coffe-cup and all kinds of other awesome consumer goods, and for whatever reason, I wasn’t even thinking about how hard it would be to actually print food-safe ceramics. Think about it for a second, it takes around 2000° C to manufacture ceramics!
Now that you know how impossible it seems, have some magic!
Shapeways is a service where you can upload your design and have it printed, now that in itself is nothing amazing, but the fact that you can have all of that done in an amazing array of materials is what makes it, not just special, but mind blowing.
You can check out the full list of 3D printable materials here.
The materials include stainless steel, ceramics, gold plated brass, silver, full color sandstone! You might find some other amazing ones there, either because I left some out or there are new possibilities when you are reading this.
The founders could have just ended it here, but no!
Apparently, it was not enough to make production easier for people, but what they also did was building an ecosystem where designers could advertise their designs, build up their own stores on the site and by doing so, also taking over the logistics for them.
What do you need to start selling gold-rings and necklaces and whatnot now? A 3D File.
Yeah. That’s anticlimactic, right?
NO! The barrier to selling custom made physical goods is as low as it has never been before!
The example I have at hand here is a guy that is crashing at my place right now, I told him about my blog 3 or 4 days ago, he is kind of a tech-savvy person, but not what you would call a nerd by any stretch of the imagination.
Yesterday, he showed me some designs he quickly did in 123D Design, well, they are up on his Shapeway Store now and ready to be bought by anyone with access to the Internet! (you’ll need an address too, just putting it out there, no bridges.)
You can find his Store here, I couldn’t recommend anything yet because we don’t even know if the stuff works as intended yet ;) I hope I’ll update this post and tell you if it does!
(Update: it does work ;) )
Point is, it is very easy to set up a shop there and it is not as daunting to design it as you might think! So design your stuff and put it up there for the world to see!
… and possibly selling?