Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Multi Material 3D Printing and an observation about 3D Printer Ads

The Objet260 Connex is a multi-material 3D printer. The printer can, in a single print job, combine up to 14 material types, textures and shades, drawn from a palette of over 60 materials, including rubber, transparent!, to engineering plastics ...

I love the way 3D printers are advertised. Many of the ads focus on the ability of the printer to perform seemingly impossible feats and diverse tasks, opening possibilities that, until you see them with your own eyes, would never occur to you.

The way 3D printers are marketed in 2011 reminds me of the early ads from 1984 for that seminal computing device, the Apple Macintosh. Many of the Macintosh ads also focused on the 'new new' things you could DO with Apple's suite of early WIMPS (window, icon, menu, pointing device) driven applications, such as never before seen (other than in a lab at PARC) graphical bitmap editing.

Below the Objet260 ad is the famous 1984 ad by Steve Jobs, a wonderful example of his showmanship. I've written before about the parallels between the emergent consumer 3D printing capability and the early PC industry. Does this portend similar explosive growth for the 3D Printer? Who will be the Steve Jobs of the consumer 3DP industry? Are the PC, and the 3D Printer, both generic multi-purpose devices, following a similar trajectory?

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