I wrote a few years ago that 3D printing changes everything. Here's a phenomenal example.
TurboRoo, a tiny Chihuahua, was born without front legs, an innocent victim of random genetic dysfunction.
Every critter on the planet wants to be mobile, to roam, to explore. TurboRoo's owner asked for help on the Internet - and got it.
According to a story on TechCrunch, "Mark Deadrick, president of 3dyn, saw TurboRoo’s call for wheels on the Internet and designed a small wheeled cart, estimating the size from online photos. He printed the card in bright orange, slapped on some Rollerblade wheels, and sent the cart to TurboRoo’s owner. Now the wee doggie is scooting along on a free, fully hackable set of super-legs."
Before now, notes writer John Biggs, "TurboRoo’s owners would have had to build something out of ready-made pipes, cloth, and other materials at great cost. Now, however, the cart can be custom-fit to TR’s body, reprinted at will, and even modified by other designers. Best of all, they can make multiple carts for almost nothing and in almost no time."
This is the miracle of 3D printing. With a little design help - and the number of freely available templates for 3D printed objects is growing every day - it's now possible for the consumer (or entrepreneur) to manufacture virtually anything they can dream of - out of almost any substance. (Chocolate is becoming an increasingly popular building material.)
The business implications are staggering. Sell designs. Create and sell works of art. Scan in and reproduce spare parts. Medical devices. Sculptured foods. Customized bobbleheads.
Remember Star Trek's transporter? We still can't actually teleport, but you can now download the plans for almost any device to your home or office, and reproduce it on a 3D printer costing less than $1,000. (20 years ago,we paid more than that for a fax machine.)
How can 3D printing enhance your business or industry?
How can you get ahead of the trend?