As the price of 3D printers goes down, new startup companies can begin to use these goodies in their businesses. The vast benefits gained from the use of 3D printing or the process of rapid prototyping is slowly but surely becoming available to many businesses that involve both men and women. Major industries such as the healthcare, automobile, military, fashion and food industries already use this technology but it is mainly found in companies in the “cash cow” phase of their business. The Ultimaker is a perfect example of a more affordable 3D printer. The Ultimaker is not only affordable, but it’s also easy to use and a high quality printer. These printers around the globe are also connected by 3D Hubs, a sharing network boasting of more than 22,000 printers on their network currently. The Ultimaker can be found in many smaller companies today and Patrick Schuur, founder of Print+, definitely took advantage of this great device. He decided that he could not watch these advanced technologies come out in the market without giving them a go.
Print+ Moving Forward With Headphones
To be able to manufacture consumer goods locally and distribute them was a dream several years ago. Print+ plans to change the whole manufacturing game. Their goal is to create products which can be printed locally. Any part which can’t be printed will be provided by print+ in a kit. A major advantage of these 3D printed products is that they will be fully modular. This means that each individual part can be reprinted as and when needed.
Print+ decided to start with the development of a headphone kit. They chose a headphone as headphones tend to have fewer parts, they are simple devices and headphones can be printed in only 20 hours, which is a comparatively low amount of time when compared the make time with other products.
The idea is simple: print+ will send a kit to customers complete with all the necessary electronics and any parts that are not printable. The customer’s job is to simply print the parts and connect the parts together in order to make or assemble the complete product. The consumer can print the parts in several ways. They can print it themselves, order parts from any local 3D hub or print them at any 3D print shop. The headphones don’t need any gluing or screwing so it’s a relatively simple process. As an added bonus, print+ makes all their 3D files available to all so anyone can customize their design.
At first the headphones were offered only in black but eventually it was inescapable that color was a necessary element, the greater the variety in color the better. The fact that rapid prototyping services have so many customizing options was another reason why color was included. It would be contradictory to have only black headphones available while 3D printers are customizable by nature. People expect to get a unique product when using rapid prototyping services so it made perfect sense for print+ to add color. People can add a color to the headband, cushion and audio cable, allowing them to opt for and pick out thousands of color combinations. With a unique color on each part, the final product has a higher quality look and feel to it. This aspect also helps the marketing side of the product.
Print+ ships headphone kits at a much lower volume level than normal headphones. It’s about 1/10th of the volume of a regular headphone shipment. Print+ hopes to push for the use of locally recycled plastic and for the local production of goods. In this way, rapid prototyping services are helping to change the manufacturing industry for the better of the people. It is up to businesses to implement the technology properly and according to their needs.
The Ultimaker 2 took care of all prototyping and development for print+ with two of the machines running nonstop prior to the launch of print+. Without the efficiency of the Ultimaker 2, this startup may not have been possible. In fact print+ liked the Ultimaker 2 so much that they plan on using it in the production of end products in coming years.
This is just the start for print+. They have many more ideas and products in the making. They don’t plan to stop with the headphone. By encouraging local production, print+ looks to a future where innovative methods of manufacturing will emerge. Print+ was started to learn more about local manufacturing and to bring the process of rapid prototyping closer to the people rather than having it be just a distant technology that only industries that can afford it use. Their ultimate aim is to develop grade A quality products that can be printed locally. This will be a game changer for manufacturers as the masses of people will now have the power to make their own products rather than leaving it all for the big industries to take care of.
This is just one way in which rapid prototyping is helping to change the world. To be more precise, it is giving more power to the general public and reducing it from the rich. While the capitalists sitting on top might not like this change, they’re finding it hard to stop this revolution. There are far too many benefits with rapid prototyping services for the services to be shut down. It continues to benefit the rich and poor equally and society as a whole as well.
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