Another indication that 3D printing is entering the mass market: giant online shop Amazon is currently in a test phase to sell 3D printed products. The shop collaborates with 3D printing marketplace 3DLT, which has added about 50 3D printed objects to Amazon. In the future, there will only be more 3D printed items added to Amazon.
Amazon works with four different product categories with 3D printed objects: toys, home accessories, jewelry and fashion/tech accessories. It’s not the first step that the online giant takes towards 3D printing. Last year, the website started selling 3D printers and filament. However, it’s completely new for the website to be selling actual 3D printed objects. To TechCrunch, 3DLT CEO John Hauer has said the following about the collaboration with Amazon: “We attempted to set up a store and sell 3D printed products. They contacted us to tell us they didn’t have a 3D printed product category. We asked if they would create one. They told us they were considering a pilot and later asked us to join.”
In this article, TechCrunch was already thinking about what the next big step for Amazon could be. Writer John Biggs thought about the possibility for Amazon users to upload their own models and get them printed. He asked Hauer about this possibility. The 3DLT CEO responded: “We don’t plan to have Amazon users upload models initially, but it is an interesting concept.”
This particular website is not the only one who’s philosophizing about the future with 3D printing for Amazon. Zach Walton on WebProNews even states that the current service is “a little restrictive compared to other 3D print-on-demand services”. “With 3DLT, you can only buy certain designs through Amazon,” he writes. “Other competitors – like Shapeways – allow you to design your own products and have them print and ship the completed object to you. Amazon will need to offer a similar service if it wants to truly compete in the 3D print-on-demand market.”
Although there is clearly some discussion about the innovating character of this collaboration, it’s surely a step towards the mass consumption of 3D printed product. In addition, there are more shops providing a service where customers can buy their own 3D printed products. A perfect example is the recent collaboration of Dutch department store Hema and 3D printing company Zazzy. The giant retailer has started offering a service where customers can personalize their own 3D printed jewelry. Nevertheless, the word ‘personalized’ is used here, a word which not applies to the new service provided by Amazon.
And 3DLT, what kind of online shop is that exactly? Well, 3DLT is a market place for 3D printing designers, where they can sell their own 3D printed designs to the public. The website seems to be doing booming business momentarily, because this is the second collaboration of the website in a short period of time. 3DLT recently started working together with Authentise, a company which has created a revolutionary streaming system that sends 3D printing files to 3D printers. After a file is used for a 3D print, it will be deleted entirely, so customers can’t share the file to friends. This fairer system offers designers at 3DLT the possibility to make more well-earned money with their self-made designs.
Image credits: Amazon/ 3DLT.