Amazon 3D Printing section
As 3D printing moved from prototyping into manufacturing in the last few years or so, the term “Mass Customisation” started to be bandied around here, there and everywhere.
Though the ‘customisation’ parameters have expanded a great deal in that time, the ‘mass’ still hasn’t really been evident. Shapeways and co are burgeoning companies, on the brink of breaking through into the public’s consciousness but the facts and figures in comparison to a company like Amazon are just a drop in the ocean.
Earlier in the year Shapeways were able to boast some staggering facts and figures that shows how a company started less than five years ago has grown. 2.2million products printer and 13,500 shops shows why they are leading the way in the mass customisation stakes but Amazon are able to boast over two million Third-Party Merchants. And after some toe-dipping exercises they seem to be jumping right in by launching a new personalisation option on their website.
Most of the 200+ items available on Amazon’s new 3D printed products store, which launched today, can be customised using a new feature that allows users to rotate and change the item they are viewing.
"The customization is something we're keenly interested in," said Petra Schindler-Carter, director for Amazon marketplace sales, speaking in an interview. "We'll always look for new applications for that."
Interestingly, the products that have been the crux of the launch including jewellery and the novelty bobble-head are from MixeeLabs who also have a pretty well established Shapeways shop. The Amazon customiser is just an embedded version of MixeeLabs' WebGL creation tool and as far as we can tell Shapeways remain the production partners for the MixeeLabs' range.
While it may seem at first that Amazon are straying into Shapeways’ territory the New York HQ will still be getting a nice kick back from the new audience Amazon guarantees. The problem for Shapeways may come if this pilot scheme takes off and Amazon decide to invest in printers themselves.