Fixing things is good for you. That is the conclusion that I have come to. Sometimes fixing things is hard, like when things aren’t designed to be fixed, or when the fix is technically difficult. Luckily, some manufacturers have embraced the maker movement and are once again making things that can be fixed.
Our local Fox affiliate, Fox 2, stopped by to do a piece on us this week. We're super excited. The artifact featured will soon be displayed at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site:
We get a lot of requests for small one-off jobs. Most of the time they are for custom parts for rapid prototyping, or product development that involves an NDA so that we can't share what we are doing. I would like to change things up a bit and share with you one that I like from an aesthetic and technical standpoint. We got a call from potential customer looking for an item for an international scavenger hunt. She needed a 3D printed quill with which to write a note and video to prove that it was printed for the occasion. And she needed it Friday.
Over the last couple of weeks I have looked at a lot of various aspects of 3D printing. I’m bothered by the newness of the technology and the business opportunities that have been unleashed. I’m not talking about the potential disruptions that I mentioned two weeks ago, but of finding a product that is scalable past the early adopters. I’m also concerned about finding a product that doesn’t kill you in development and sample costs to get in front of early adopters so that you can scale. The internal debate stems from two schools of thought: Henry Ford and Eric Ries.
As we have discussed the last couple of weeks, there are a lot of different things 3D printers can do, a lot of 3D printers out there, and a whole lot of confusion and ways to get lost. I want to just highlight some ways that you can get involved with 3D printing if you are interested and help you avoid some of the mistakes we made.
Last week I covered Rapid Prototyping and the way it changes the development cycle. I see this as an incremental as opposed to a disruptive change. People who embrace it will have advantages over individuals and companies who are blind to the possibilities. There are still tried and true methodologies for product development which work and will continue to work. That said, much like driverless cars and trucks will radically change insurance, police department budgets, and the long haul trucking industry, 3D printing has the potential to disrupt industries such as home building and small parts manufacturing. I will talk about how these industries could be affected and then outline why 3D printing has the potential to be such a game changer.
The topic that keeps coming up and gets me so excited about the uses of 3D printing is Rapid Prototyping. Rapid Prototyping covers a wide range of industries but can be summed up as the principle of taking a concept to physical form quicker than we have in years past. We are able to go from idea genesis to actualization in days rather than weeks or months. This helps shorten design cycles, help garner customer feedback, and evolve products...rapidly.
Think A Little Bigger is about to enter into an investment seed round. Part of that is putting our 3D printed products in front of potential consumers for feedback and polishing our pitch to potential investors. Our first attempt in front of the public will be on Monday, June 16th at the Center for Emerging Technologies. We'll start at 9 AM. Matt Roggen will bring donuts.