In an unusual example of Web2.0 colliding head-on with 3D Printing, Objet announced they've sold a Connex 350 3D printer to social product developer Quirky.
Wait a moment, you ask, what exactly is a "social product developer"? The Quirky answer is a startup company that accepts ideas from the public and produces new products. And they do it - every single week! Here's how it works:
- You submit your idea to Quirky (fee USD$99)
- Quirky's community members take a look at your idea and refine it, much like a wiki develops
- Units are pre-sold to the community to gauge interest
- A winner is selected by the Quirky design team
- Professional engineers, designers and marketers then take over and properly design your product and place it on sale
- When the number of orders reaches the appropriate threshold, the item is actually manufactured and you receive a portion of the revenue
The event this week was Quirky's acquisition of a 3D printer, which can clearly speed up their already warp-speed weekly product cycle by making prototypes, components or even finished items in some cases. Why did Quirky select an Objet printer? We'll never know for sure, but speculation is that Objet's Polyjet Matrix multi-material capability might be one reason.
We think this is yet another example of a personal manufacturing model, in the same vein as Ponoko or Shapeways.