3D Printing for Small Business

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Mojo 3D printer for small business.A few years ago I noticed several 3D Printer projects on the crowd funding site Kickstarter. The concept was interesting to me at the time and I could see a lot of potential for 3D printing for small business applications. Other interests soon took the place of this new technology in my mind and I forgot all about it. That is until I came across the infomercial for a well known investment publication promoting the the opportunity to invest in a new technology that is cutting edge.

After doing some research on a story mentioned in the infomercial, I discovered that this new technology is 3D printing. The infomercial went on to describe how a young man had used this techno to manufacture a fully functioning gun using blueprints found on the internet. Now this particular article is not an investment article, I’m not encouraging you to invest in 3D printing stocks. I’m just hoping to set the stage for the small business owner who may have heard of 3D printing but thinks it’s a thing of the future.

3D Printing for Small Business at UPS Stores

The future has arrived. In fact, 3D printing for small business has already arrived in your local Staples and UPS Store. While researching this article, I was dumbfounded to discover that not only is 3D printing a real, affordable and accessible technology. Today, you can have a 3D print made while you’re picking up your business mail.

According to UPS, the company has moved forward with 3D printing after polling some of its small business customers. The poll revealed significant interest among small business owners for 3D printing services.

3D Printing Can Change Your Business

When the technology first came out it was a novelty. I remember seeing people create rough figurines and game pieces. Today, that has all changed. Recently I viewed a CBS news store about how a boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer. This popular YouTube video has received over 1.5 million since being posted in October, 2013.

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3D printing will be the technology that changes 2014 for individuals, investors, and small businesses, worldwide. Imagine how you to can print a hand for a loved one or a friend from a machine that costs a fraction of the price of a professionally manufactured prosthetic.

Often a new technology will be limited in access to the general public and small business owners due to the high cost of entry. I remember when DVD players, then later blu-ray players first came on the market. In 2006, consumers had to pay $1000 for the privilege of owning this new technology, just so they could watch movies. In 1997, a 42” flat screen plasma TV would set you back $15,000.

In the recent Special Issue of Make: magazine, I was stunned to see that you could purchase a 3D printer for as little as $300. This is the price of a good quality ink jet or laser printer today. I’m thinking of donating one to my local school.

Back in the early days of my publishing business, we spent over $5000 for a color laser printer for our business without thinking about it. It enabled us to self publish thousands of books before Print on Demand (POD) was even popular.

The New Print On Demand for Small Businesses

While 3D printing is still in its infancy, it doesn’t have the same barrier to entry that other game changing technology has had in the past. Imagine printing parts and products on demand as the book publishing industry has been doing. POD has changed the publishing industry. I believe that 3D POD will do the same for manufacturing.

Do you want to take your business to the next level? Do you have product ideas you’d like to bring to market but can afford the costs of making multiple prototypes? Now you can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by making your own prototypes and even salable products.

Whether you’re in the custom vehicle industry, make one of a kind motorcycles or cars, a 3D printer can take your concepts from the drawing board straight into the shop. For the restoration business, parts once difficult or impossible to find can now be printed in your office.

Think you’ve got time to catch up? In 2009, RedEye produces the world’s first full-scale custom chopper 3D prototype using FDM. Using technology developed by Stratasys Ltd., a full-scale was easily printed. Just imagine what you can do with this technology in your business. A quick view of the Stratasys YouTube channel revealed 3D Guitars, parts for Oreck vacuum cleaners, even truck fenders.

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Do you remember when you could finally purchase a desktop printer and end trips to the copy center? Well, you can do it again. Stratasys has created a desktop printer that looks and functions as easily as your laser or ink jet printer. The Mojo is a plug and play 3D printer for your small business. The Mojo 3D Printer allows you to print professional 3D models right at your desk for as little as $189 per month on a business equipment lease from Purple Platypus.

3D POD will enable companies to create new products in real time. Imagine if your client loves your product, but would like to make a small change so that it would work better with their business. Now you can customize it in your computer and print out a custom version just for them. Talk about customer service.

The Sky is Your Limit with 3D Printing for Small Business

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The small business owner can find a 3D printer to meet any need. Whether your idea is for novelty items for your online or retail business, or you want to create precision parts for manufacturing, now you can. From bringing ideas to life to full-scale production, 3D printing has changed the way things will be made from now on.

What’s in your computer that you haven’t been able to afford to bring to life? What’s in your sketch book that you’ve dreamed of making but the cost of molds and prototypes made it impossible? How can you change your business, your family, your community, the world with your imagination? If you can imagine it, you can create it with 3D printing.

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