Re: 3d printing

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Tue Jun 19 2001 - 22:43:01 EEST

On Tue, 19 Jun 2001, Blazdell, Philip wrote:

> I am trying to find out some general market data for the 3d printing -
> especially jet printing markets,
> I am especially interested in finding out more about the main business
> issues involved in this area, how the market is segmented and what people
> see as the real problems associated with this technology. Any help or hints
> would be greatly appreciated,

Well, I don't know much about business issues, but the market that I
see, doing Solidscape models and outsourcing ZCorp models, has these

Toy miniatures: cars, robots, railroads &ct.
Medical and dental parts
Artifact replication by archeologists and museums
Industrial small parts
Scientific and mathematical modeling
Special effects

The commonest wishes I see are these:

Better resolution and fewer defects.

To prototype directly from a NURBS format, instead of ugly, huge,
hard-to-produce meshes.

Greater selection of materials. Choices in color, texture, hardness,
transparency, flexibility - the usual.

Cheaper prices in bulk: I find that people don't mind paying a few
hundred bucks for a unique model, but a lot of times they want to make
20 or 40 of the same thing, and are discouraged to learn that they'll
have to use a mold to make it affordable.

And here's the one big wish that could be implemented right now,
without any new hardware: more informative websites and directories.

I spend a great deal of time referring clients to other service
bureaus which are better equipped to handle their needs, but whose
sites don't state clearly what they can do. I see clients who are
ready to pay a premium to have me outsource their models, because I
describe what the different machines do in short words.

"Our facilities include an SLA 7000" doesn't mean anything to a
biologist who wants to build a protein, or an architect with a mesh of
a building. If you want to sell parts, write "We can make tough
plastic models up to 24" in size, with a resolution of better than
.005". They're a little rough to the touch, but they can be sanded
and painted if desired. Undercuts are no object!" Then put some
sharp close-ups of real parts, and people will know what to come to
you for.

Bathsheba Grossman (831) 429-8224
Creative prototyping
Bronze sculpture

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