You should get it 3D printed
When you tell people you’re starting a business that requires making something, they inevitably say one of three things:
- You should get it 3D printed
- You should go on Sharktank (The US and Australian version of ‘Dragon’s Den‘)
- You should use Kickstarter
Like all obvious things said often, it gets annoying, no matter how well intended.
Of course we’ve looked into 3D printing and yes, we’ve seen ‘that’ youtube video, but it’s not as simple as simply printing off a polished end-product from a CAD model.
After talking to many Industrial Design firms, reading a few books on the subject and even getting test parts made using 3D printing services, we’ve learned a few things about 3D printing.
Currently, 3D printing requires a lot of ‘finishing’ work to produce smooth surfaces, it’s limited in the types of materials that can be used, it can’t yet work with multiple materials and it can’t yet produce large components easily.
As we will be using our prototype to conduct user and market testing as well as attracting investors, it needs to look and work as well as a finished product. 3D printing isn’t yet capable of producing that type of prototype.
In fact, after all our research, we’re still not quite sure what production methods would be most appropriate and that’s why we’ve hired an Industrial Design firm to figure it out.
As for Sharktank – Realistically we’ll probably consider it later on when we want the publicity but there are better ways to find investors.
and finally, Kickstarter… what can I say about kickstarter? Quite a bit actually.