Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

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Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

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Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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Good 3D Printing Opportunities For 3D Designers

By Staff Writter

Good 3D Printing Opportunities For 3D Designers

Art

As the prices of 3D printers continue to drop and their capabilities rise, more homes and business will have them. Many of the more affordable printers fall within the range of smart devices and laptops. This availability of printers is similar to the situation of the early 80s, when personal computers were becoming more available to the public.

While the advent of the personal computer created new career opportunities for technical professionals directly involved with computer hardware and software, the real opportunity didn't happen until after the home computer and the Internet combined together. This opportunity was the production of content in the form of consumer and business software, video, ebooks, and apps. The real money was made from content production. The personal computer's role in this was to provide access to the content online.

In the same vein, the home 3D printer in combination with the Internet will allow consumers access to online content that is essentially instructions that tell their printers how to create whatever physical product they wish to "download." Some of this content will be free while others will cost money. There is already a site by MakerBot called Thingiverse that allows the public to download any of thousands of objects to their printers for free.

Currently, physical goods can certainly be purchased online, but these goods still have to be shipped. This means the consumer must pay for shipping and wait for the products to arrive, which is a less than satisfying customer experience. In a few years, most everyone will have a 3D printer. This creates opportunity for businesses as well as individuals to become a new type of content producer who is essentially a 3D designer of physical goods for both consumers and businesses.

The demand for these goods, especially from consumers, will be huge. There are several reasons for this growth. First, the price of goods such as toys will plummet because the goods exist as information and don't become physical until after they've been purchased, downloaded and printed. The price of information almost always drops over time due to the forces of competition among content producers. Another reason for increased consumer demand, is the multitude of unique product possibilities that are opened up by 3D printing. Customers will also have a greater input into the shape, size, and color of the products they buy.

Some may ague that people won't pay for objects such as toys, because they can design them themselves. However, most people lack the creativity and modeling skills to do this. A similar argument can be made about people not wanting to buy fiction because most people can make up their own stories. If this argument were true, book stores would be out of business.

When entrepreneurs endeavor to meet this demand by starting companies, they will employ professionals who have the creativity and 3D design skills to produce this new type of content. There will also be plenty of room for freelancers as well as independents. Thanks to the 3D printer, physical goods will essentially become information products of a new kind. These amazing 3D printing opportunities are set to happen in the next few years.

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