3D Printing Provider Says a Million-Dollar Product Is Just a Good Design Away

DESIGNERS. Two trendspotting organizations—Trend Hunter and JWT Intelligence—have predicted that 3D printing (aka “tangible printing”) will be one of those technologies that could really take off in 2011.

3D Printed Vase
At Shapeways.com, everyone can make, buy, or sell their own products in more than a dozen different materials, including metal and glass with various finishes.

In a blog post on TechCruch, Joris Peels of the i-materialise 3D printing service predicts that the hardware and software will become more affordable and at least five new 3D printing startups aimed at consumers will be launched this year.

Peels even goes so far to predict that a designer will earn revenues of over $1 million with a single 3D printed product (not a prototype) in 2011. Peels says several designers have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars selling 3D printed items ranging from chairs to jewelry.

He predicts that as “As many designers get more knowledgeable about the 3D printing process, and media coverage increases, a million-dollar hit is only one good design away.”

In September, Shapeways.com, the personalized-production company started by Royal Philips Electronics in The Netherlands, announced that it will be moving its headquarters to New York. As of September, the company was 3D printing more than 10,000 unique products each month, an increase from only 600 products per month in January, 2009. The Shapeways.com online community has more than 50,000 members and more than 1,000 shops, with some shop owners earning more than $1,000 per month selling their customizable products directly to consumers.

If you’re not yet familiar with 3D printing and how it can be used, check out three sites of companies that offer 3D printing or product-fabrication services.