Is 3D Printing About to the Retail Space on its Head?

May 14, 2014 Meghan

3D PrintingNew Balance 3D printed shoes

If there’s one piece of tech that is going to drastically change the world, it’s the 3D printer. Just like the MP3 player revolutionized the music industry, the 3D printer will do the same for consumer goods. I mean, who isn’t into the idea of downloading blue prints then printing products at home?

If you work in either the manufacturing or retail industry, get ready, because 3D printing will soon turn both spaces upside down. Don’t believe us? Just ask Grace Choi. Thanks to her, you will soon be able to 3D print makeup from your home. Her Mink printer could quite literally become the Napster of the beauty industry. By integrating 3D printing with a basic colour picker, (like you would find in Photoshop) Grace has been able to transform a cell phone, laptop or desktop computer into her very own endless beauty aisle. A big problem if you’re Sephora.

The technology behind 3D printing is not overly complicated (See video: Printing 3D tools). A 3D scan of a product is taken, put into the printing software, and then layer-by-layer a powder is applied to a binding agent, creating a replica product so precise that there is only a 40-micron difference.

Another 3D printer poised to disrupt the marketplace, is the Lix Pen. If you haven’t heard about Lix yet, you will. Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, this tiny printer allows you to draw intricate shapes, designs, and even fashion accessories in 3D with ease – pushing the boundaries of what is possible to the next level.

3D printing is fast, cheap, and will revolutionize the way we manufacture objects. The technology is already changing the way we look at engineering consumer goods and even allowing us to play god. Leaving me with one question, what’s next?

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