3D Printing: Coming to a Niche Product Near You

One of the most exciting digital technologies that is starting to reinvent established business practices is 3D printing.

A wave of new companies like Freedom of Creation and Bespoke Prosthetics are applying this technology to the custom manufacturing of everything from jewelry, to architectural models, to designer body parts.  Firms like HP and Google are investing in hardware and software, respectively.

3D printing’s breakthroughs in pricing and digitization mean that designs which used to take months are now brought to life in hours, and at a fraction of the cost.

Newly affordable machines are poised to invent a whole new class of custom manufacturing, where a niche product need not even be made until the customer has ordered it.

As customer networks seek ever more customized content, services, and even physical products, technologies like 3D printing will impact a broad range of industries.

One of the company’s I feature in my book is Brooklyn’s Makerbot Industries, which is bringing 3D printing to a desktop near you, with models starting at just $1,000.

I was lucky to have Makerbot’s founder, Bre Pettis, speak at the BRITE conference this year. In the video below, you can see Bre talk about putting “the factory on your desktop,” including:

  • the most replicated human being in the world
  • why open source innovation spurs iterative design
  • how “the Makerbot prints love”

If video does not appear, click here to watch it on BRITEconference.com

And if you are near NYC next week…

You can check out the Makerbot, and a lot of other amazing technology and crazy inventive spirit at the Maker Faire, Sept 25-26 at the New York Hall of Science.

I will be there!



  • Guess Which Social Networks Are Growing? (read)
  • Customization & the Rise of the Makerbots! (read)
  • 9 Themes from the BRITE ’10 Conference (read)

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Photo of jewelry from Freedom of Creation

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