3D Printing in 2010

A year ago we posted our "wishes for 2010". Did any of them come true? Let's take a look:
 
A consumer capable 3D printer: This didn't happen, but clearly big steps were taken in that direction. Three events were key for us:
  
Easy 3D Software. Let's face it, 3D development is not a trivial matter and it does require a lot of learning to become fully capable. That's just not going to change. However, there were some developments in 2010:
  • Google Sketchup 8 was released, including some interesting features. This free tool is the gateway for many people introduced to the technology. 
  • Anarkik3D released version 2 of their haptic-based 3D design software. While not yet widely used, this approach could make things a lot easier for 3D modellers. 
 
Mainstream media coverage that isn't "Star Trek". Media coverage of 3D printing hasn't significantly changed, but we believe it has increased somewhat. In particular, several posts from BBC News and the Economist have shone serious light on the technology. But most people still have no idea what you're talking about. 
 
What else happened in 2010? You might want to peruse Joris' amazing summary of 2010 3D printing events at i.Materialise. 

Announcing Fabbaloo's 3D Resources

When we started blogging about 3D printing more than three years ago things were a lot simpler. We tried to promote the technology by including a list of appropriate links on the side of our pages, but in the past year there seems to have been a bit of an explosion. More companies, experiments, services and artists have taken on 3D printing and we realized a different approach was required.
 
We had no alternative but to create a dedicated page of links to all things 3D printing, at this point with well over 60 links (and growing) in these easy-to-find categories:
 
  • About 3D Printing
  • Hobbyist 3D Printer Kits and Products
  • Commmercial 3D Printers
  • Popular 3D Print Services
  • 3D Print Crowdsourcing
  • Notable 3D Print Artists
  • Commercial 3D Modeling Software
  • Free 3D Modeling Software
  • 3D Scanners
  • 3D Print Accessories
  • Related Blogs
 
This page will always be in flux, just like the industry it follows. Should you have suggestions for additions or changes, send them over! 
 

3D Printed Food Futures

We've been thinking some more about 3D printed food after yesterday's post, and wondered what the future might look like if reasonably capable food printers really existed. Here's some thoughts:
 
  • If they were low cost, we'd find them in most kitchens and restaurants. Why not? People pay huge sums for fancy ovens and other kitchen appliances; a food printer could become as common as a microwave oven or rice cooker.
  • Food printers could, theoretically, print identical "results", erm, "food dishes you can eat", if they had access to the same raw materials and 3D food designs. 
  • This means that restaurants and home kitchens could produce amazing food items, so long as they had the right designs and feedstocks (foodstocks?)
  • While access to raw material foodstocks is probably a commodity business, food designs won't be. They will be carefully crafted works of art - that you can eat!
  • Chef training may include 3D CAD skills to ensure students can produce suitable designs. 
  • We suspect competition will erupt in food design, with proprietary and open source food recipes, perhaps with "Food Labels" signing promising food designers to their group.
  • Online services will sell access to the most popular food designs, perhaps leading to weekly "top ten lists", just like other digital media. There may even be celebrity "Rock Star 3D chef designers" and their fans, who eagerly await their next release.  
 
Could 3D Food be one of the biggest industries in the 21st century? 

Printing Musical Instruments

Tipster Jb pointed us at a video of a rather startling project: Printing a complete musical instrument. In this case, MIT Media Lab researcher Amit Zoran attempted to print an entire and working flute in one operation.

We're not sure if printing an object of this complexity has ever been attempted before; we've seen some items with moving parts, such as nuts and bolts, hinges, joints, etc. This feat involves not only producing the moving parts, but also ensuring that the integrity of the entire "system" is sufficient to produce beautiful music. According to Zoran:

Our goal is to produce a flute using 3D printer technologies, a flute that is compatible with a traditional concert flute both acoustically and ergonomically.

And they seem to have mostly achieved their goal. In the video, you'll see a puzzled flute player actually producing music from the object. While not a perfect result (some of the keys weren't quite right), the project has overcome a number of challenges:

  • Printing a complex design involving multiple moving parts
  • Achieving air-tight surface joins suitable for musical note production, using soft material
  • Producing the right physical "feel" for the musician using different materials (a key feature of the Objet Connex500 3D printer used in this project)
  • Ensuring "perfect" sounds, at least according to flutist Seth Hunter

The 15 hour print involved producing 4 parts, which with some non-3D printed springs were assembled into the final flute. Examining the video of the actual print on the Connex500, we see huge amounts of support material used, which is inevitable given the amazing number of movable parts and overhangs in the complex design.

Nevertheless, there were a few snags that we suspect will be fixed in this ongoing project, such as key spacing for improved ergonomics and beefier design for the areas subject to wear. The project also envisions designs for musical instruments that are entirely new, possibly leading to new forms of music in the future.

All said, this is a huge feat that we greatly admire. Think about it: you can now print a very complex instrument - on demand! If this can be done, what will be next?

Via YouTube (Hat tip to Jb Labrune)

Make-A-Bot

Charles Guan is the mastermind behind the experimental Make-A-Bot, a new 3D printer of (mostly) his own design. Based on a combination of MakerBot and RepRap tech, this interesting printer makes extensive use of water-jet cut aluminum, with acrylic and wooden components as well. 
  
The printer uses a MakerBot Mk5 plastruder, but has a different build area (6x6x6 inches) and is capable of reasonably accurate prints due to its incredibly solid design. The builds take place on a "Custom thermally regulated build surface". Charles' testing has shown that the device is capable of quality printing at a startling 55mm/s! 
 
Charles says:
 
DIY 3-dimensional additive fabrication and personal manufacturing are rapidly expanding areas of exploration for hobbyists, amateur engineers, tinkerers and Maker-folk. The development aims to provide an alternative or complement to capital-intensive mass manufacturing for individual-level consumption, and also aims to empower the individual in the design and creation of their own goods. Because of the involvement of many demographics including said amateur engineers and hobbyists in this “research”, potential breakthroughs for the additive fabrication industry as a whole are also promising. As the technology continues to evolve on a grassroots level, the quality of products and streamlining of the process should approach or overtake levels achieved by commercial additive fabrication machines while remaining accessible to persons interested in pursuing engineering as a hobby or profession.
 
I mean, besides all that, I want my own 3d printer. 
 
Be sure to watch the videos of this fascinating printer.
  

BBC Investigates 3D Printed Food

We're reading a big report from BBC news where they investigated the incredible notion of 3D printing food. We've covered this before, and sure, it's obviously at an experimental stage right now - but readers will all know where this is heading. We want food printers!
 
The Beeb article primarily focused on Jeffrey Lipton's experiments, where they've been printing cakes, cookies and even meat! The results look a bit rough today, but one must extrapolate how this will develop. 
 
In discussions with others, we've noticed only two responses to the idea of food printing: "Wow, that's amazing", and "Ewww, I would never eat anything that came out of a machine!"
 
The latter response is interesting, because most packaged foods you'd find in your local supermarket emerged from industrial machines that, while not 3D printers, also would generate an "Ewww!" factor. Perhaps it's the idea of SEEING the food emerge that makes it less palatable? Maybe future food printers should be fully enclosed. 
 
Via BBC

Shapercube

There's another low-cost 3D printer for sale: The Shapercube.
 
This German made €979 (USD$1,290) build-it yourself kit is based on the RepRap Darwin design and includes a rather hefty build volume of 190x200x185mm (slightly reduced if an optional second print head is installed).
 
The key specs:
 
  • 3mm filament required
  • 0.5mm nozzle
  • Pre-assembled heater
  • Acrylic print surface (heated option available)
  • Rubber mounts to reduce vibration
  • Up to 115mm/s XY print movement
  • Online wiki with all the information required
 
One interesting feature that stuck out to us was the case. It's made of water jet-cut aluminum. This ensures not only a groovy appearance, but makes the device very solid. However, water jet cutting sometimes leaves scratches and other messes on the aluminum surfaces, so Shapercube offers an option: glass-bead blasted aluminum panels for an extra €100 (USD$132). We'd take that option in a nanosecond.  
 
Currently they've sold out the first batch and are awaiting a second production run. 
 

StudioMill

It's not a 3D Printer, but it is a very capable 5-axis CNC machine; the StudioMill, sold by A1 Technologies. Directed at academic institutions, the device will enable students to get their hands on serious CNC technology:
 
Studiomill is supplied as a complete educational CAD CAM solution with the purpose built PathingCNC software which is used to simulate and control the modelling process. 
 
The PathingCNC software is intuitive and easy to learn and allows you to view and manipulate your CAD model in a virtual tooling environment and quickly and easily tailor the modelling process to suit your requirements. The software allows the more advanced user to exercise complete control over the modelling process, but also provides a degree of assistance to the novice user.
 
What makes this machine appropriate for educational use, other than the price? There's a number of specific features:
 
  • Windows on all sides enable viewing of operations by students
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Safety features
  • Five-axis function for teaching production machining processes 
 
Studiomill can perform very fine finishing, up to 0.05mm resolution, and is capable of handling a wide variety of materials in its 160x220mm work area. Available now from A1 Technologies, starting prices at £6,000 (USD$9300). 
 

Idea: What Can I Model For You?

We re-read last week's post on the new "What Can I Make For You?" service and had an idea. If you recall, the WCIMFY service was quite simple: type what you want (in natural language) into a box and hit submit. The service then figures out how to match your desired "thing" with someone who could actually make it. 
 
So on to the idea. One of the big barriers to the expansion of 3D printing is the availability of models. While many Fabbaloo readers will be perfectly capable of firing up <insert 3D modeling tool of choice> and cranking out a 3D model of <insert interesting artifact> in no time flat, the sad truth is that most of the general public will never be able to do that. How will the general public ever use 3D printers? 
 
Some 3D print ventures attempt to get over this hurdle by providing a wide variety of models to choose from in a repository. Shapeways and Ponoko, for example, have many items to choose from; MakerBot is associated with Thingiverse, etc. You don't have to be a 3D modeler to use these services and products. But unless you can model, you're stuck with whatever's in the repository. 
 
That bleak scenario doesn't take full advantage of this technology which permits one-time custom-fit manufacturing, a completely different approach than traditional mass production. Use of a 3D model repository, while useful, is kind of a step back towards mass production. 
 
The idea is to create a "What Can I Model For You?" service, in which everyday folks could enter a brief description of what they need and be matched with a 3D modeler capable of producing a design suitable for printing either on a home machine or a 3D print service. 
 
Interested designers could register with the service, indicating their speciality (e.g. jewelry, mechanical parts, home repair items, works of art, scanning, etc.) The service would provide skills matching and manage the financial aspects, where fees would be negotiated, collected and allocated. This might be a great way for designers to make some extra cash while making life easier for those wishing to use 3D technology. Or maybe it's just another crazy idea.

Jeffrey Lipton Explains 3D Printing

3D Printing researcher Jeffrey Lipton delivers a 5 minute talk introducing 3D printing at Ignite Ithaca. Jeffrey works on the Fab@Home project, one of several open source 3D printer development initiatives. 
 
In the talk Lipton explains in a rather excited manner that the introduction of 3D printing technology will produce another manufacturing revolution, transitioning us from the era of mass production to personal production. He predicts a world where unique items will be produced as required by individuals, and we won't be forced to accept identical mass produced items. He says:
 
Why do we need warehouses? Why do we stockpile things?
 
We agree. But will this happen? Certainly, and it will be just as exciting as watching the very animated Jeffrey. 
 

The T-Rep3

We keep seeing incredible 3D printer design experiments, and this is another we haven't written about yet: the T-Rep3. It's a RepRap-based device made from the highly versatile T-slot aluminum extrusions. The T-slots make this 3D Printer very rigid (and inspires its name, too, we suppose). Like the GrassRoots Engineering design we posted the other day, this printer also uses linear bearings for its axis movements. Why? 
we found linear bearings much easier to use. They are smooth running, almost self-aligning,  and will support huge side loads without complaining. They actually seem to become smoother the more load you put on them.
 
And of course the linear bearings are also smaller in size than other approaches. 
 
The T-Rep team details a cooling experiment on their blog, in which they mounted fans near the print head to see if they could improve the quality of tall and thin prints. Amazingly, their experiment proved fans provide only "marginal gains", and instead they settled on using Skeinforge's Cool plugin (which simply waits extra time for layers to cool down before proceeding.)
 

Hands On With the PP3DP Up! 3D Printer

Meet Phil Letourneau, an Up! 3D Printer Operator. This week Phil dropped by the Fabbaloo office to demonstrate the rarely seen Up! 3D Printer. We put this elusive device put through some basic tests to see how it works. The result? Overall, we're pretty impressed - but there are some caveats. Here's what we found:
 
The device retails today for USD$2690, but Phil managed to grab one of the few early shipments that were discounted to USD$1500. He's not sure if he'd buy it again at the full price, given the other 3D printer options available today. You can choose a pre-assembled unit from any of six colors; Phil's was bright orange.
 
The metal-framed Up! comes mostly assembled, and includes a pretty extensive toolkit, which Phil describes as "Well Equipped". The kit includes a multi-tool wood cutting kit, excellent for removing the voluminous support material that seems to appear on almost every print; snips for cutting filament; a really thin metal lifter; and a set of cheap industrial gloves.
 
Phil says he's paying PP3DP approximately USD$35 for a spool of 0.7Kg filament (which, by the way, is a lot thinner than standard RepRap/MakerBot 3mm filament).
 
The Up! includes an unusual filament feeder mechanism: the filament travels through a tube, which tightens up as filament is eaten by the print head. When the tube tightens close enough to the spooler, it touches a mechanical switch to engage the spooler motor, which then delivers a few centimetres of fresh filament. It's fascinating to watch this process repeat, for some unexplainable reason.
 
The Windows-only software provided by PP3DP is both good and bad. Good because it tremendously simplifies the process for the user, who is faced with a straightforward control window with only a few knobs, as opposed to RepRap/MakerBot/RapMan SkeinForge users who must diddle with hundreds of parameters. Up! operators merely choose things like "Solid" or "Loose", etc. While this simplification is good, much control is lost. For example, there doesn't seem to be a way to NOT print a raft. Also, if a print doesn't come out right, there's often not a lot you can do about it. However, Phil said PP3DP has been very good about releasing upgraded software on a pretty frequent basis, often with interesting new features.
 
A great feature is automatic support structures. You simply open up any STL file and the Up! does its best to print it. Very often we observed support structures printed, sometimes even when there was no apparent need for them. We spent a lot of time peeling prints. Interestingly, one problematic STL file, unprintable on a MakerBot, actually printed successfully on the Up!
 
The quality of the prints is superb, particularly when the printer is set to its finest resolution: 0.2 (we suspect that means millimetres, but it's not completely clear, as with most aspects of this overly mysterious machine). The software offers four choices of resolution, with the "coarsest" being perhaps not as good as the average MakerBot print. The poor resolution prints also take mercifully less time than the finest, which seem to go on forever.
 
Curiously, the warm-up process involves a massive test extrusion - of about half a meter of filament, or so it seemed. The only reason for this, we thought, might be to encourage additional filament sales. We've also heard of challenges in using filament from places other than PP3DP, since you have to somehow get the foreign filament onto the Up! spool, but it can be done, apparently. 
 
The purchasing process was interesting: Operator Phil had to make arrangements to wire funds directly to a previously-unheard of factory business somewhere deep in China. We asked if it was uncomfortable to send that amount of cash to an unknown company far away, and Phil agreed, saying "it seemed totally sketch".
 
The Up! seems to have a couple of power challenges. It needs power for the heater, electronics and a few motors for XYZ axes and extruder. Where does it get this power? From the THREE separate power plugs you must insert into several nearby electrical outlets. Worse, the device has NO Off switch. That's correct - to turn it completely off you must unplug THREE cords.
  
Noise factors are both good and bad. The Up! is astonishingly less noisy than a MakerBot; you can hardly notice it printing, as it's almost silent. However, the silence is broken by extremely loud and annoying BEEPs that must signify something of importance.
 
Bottom Line: This is a pretty decent device, producing high-quality prints with little effort required by the operator. We believe this device could be successfully operated by someone with only light technical skills. However, the simplification of the interface doesn't quite hide all the complexity behind the scenes. 
 
Via PP3DP

Gigantic Home-Designed 3D Printer

Troubled by a tiny build chamber size? Anxious to print those 13 inch custom-designed sandals in one operation? You might want to get your hands on Jim Smith's new project at Grass Roots Engineering, where he's designing a low-cost 3D printer with an incredible build volume of 403x403x322mm (15.86x15.86x12.70"). In addition to the build volume, there are more interesting features:
 
  • Can use different print heads by adjusting the height of the Z-axis
  • Interchangeable print surfaces for different applications
  • Multiple print head attachment points
  • Powered fume removal system
  • Print head-mounted cooling fans
  • Linear bearings for smooth (and large) operation
 
This design is different from other kit printers we've seen, and it looks promising. We're going to watch developments to see how this experiment proceeds. If successful, it might influence the design of future 3D printers. 
  
Designer Jim Smith has been working in the 3D print zone for some years, including a stint as the Mechanical Systems team leader for the Fab@Home project, so you can be sure this is a very serious hardware design. 
 
But can you get one of these for yourself? Not yet, as Jim is still in the design and experimentation stage. But he's promised to show us what happens. He says: 
  
I created Grass Roots Engineering so I could share the developments and continual improvements of my 3D printing machines.
 
One question we have, beyond the engineering of the device, is its name. A device such as this deserves a very cool name. Any suggestions? 
  
Via GrassRootsEngineering (Hat tip to Jim, Jeff and Rob)

Breaking: 3D Print Retail Store Opens

We've just learned that Materialise has opened a retail store dedicated to selling high-end 3D printed goods. This, we believe, is the first such store ever in existence, and follows on the earlier announcement of MakerBot selling their 3D printer in a retail setting
 
The new store, operated by Materialise's .MGX venture, specializes in startlingly beautiful furniture and lamps, often featured in Fabbaloo. These items were previously sold online or through other outlets, but evidently there is now sufficient consumer demand to justify a full-on store, this one located in Brussels' very ritzy Sablon district. 
 
This was inevitable, as 3D printing technology continues to increase in capability and artists leverage it in the most innovative ways. Will this particular store be successful? We're going to be watching closely. If it is successful, then we might see .MGX open new outlets in other high-end shopping districts in London, Paris, New York or Los Angeles. 
 
This store represents a major breakthrough for 3D printing; it won't be the last 3D print store - it's merely the first, and the beginning of a huge wave of 3D printing entering the retail space.
 
Via i.Materialise (Hat tip to Joris)

Racing Prototypes

MCD Racing produces radio-controlled racing cars, 1/5 the size of real vehicles. These are not toys - they are highly sophisticated machines capable of winning world championships. These cars are capable of world record speeds of an unbelievable 260Kph (161mph)! Obviously they must be very carefully designed, perhaps with 1/5 the effort that goes into Formula One full size equipment. 
 
The 1,000+ parts involved in such vehicles are typically produced using injection molding at a cost of USD$20-40K, with a month of turnaround time. However, MCD invested in a Dimension 3D printer and has used it to develop over 200 prototypes at far lower cost and much faster turnaround time (days). 
 
But note - the parts produced on the 3D printer are not actually used in the final vehicles. While parts are pretty strong, they simply won't withstand the extreme environment at ultra-high speeds. Instead, the 3D printed parts are used in lower-speed testing to validate their function before full-on aluminum injection molding is attempted.  
 

PC Board Printed

We just noticed this development that was posted last July: a RepRap 3D printer was used to print a circuit board. Well, not completely - the 3D printer actually printed the etch resist, which protected the conductive bits from the acid bath. The resulting board was then cleaned up and had components mounted on it. 
 
The 3D printing process was actually 2D: a marker pen was guided by the RepRap over the virgin board to outline the electronic traces. Two passes were required to produce a sufficient amount of resist. 
 
There are several approaches to electronic printing, but it's great to see another successful one. 
 

My Head's Going To Explode!

That's what MakerBot Chief Bre Prettis says in this video report on low-cost 3D printing from Reuters. The well-known news agency put together this piece to explain the topic to the vast majority of people who simply don't know that 3D printing is not only possible, but inexpensive. 
 
Bre's comment in full:
 
Our goal is to democratize manufacturing. And so it's been one step after another, building machines that can get into people's hands. 
 
3D Printing isn't something new; it's been around for about 25 years or so. But up until MakerBot you'd have to sneak into an elite institution, a design house or something like that. We really wanted one, so we made one and when we got it to work we made a kit so everybody can have one! 
 
I just think back to what I would have done with a MakerBot when I was ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen and my head explodes. . . in the next few years you'll see kids getting a hold of these doing amazing things.  
 
Isn't that already happening? We want more!
 

What Can I Make For You?

There's another option for makers to keep their fabbers running: What Can I Make For You? is a web service that links consumers to makers. The service solicits requests for, well, anything, from consumers. The service attempts to match the request against someone from their pool of makers. 
 
This small five person San Francisco-based operation clearly focuses on items made with conventional techniques, so it's possible that 3D Printing makers might be a relatively unique offering within their pool. From the site:
 
Attention All Amazing Makers: Do you want to be included in our network of custom makers we use to create all the unique product requests we get?
 
To become a member, you must apply. We suspect the operators of WCIMFY try to maintain a list of quality makers within each making category from which they make selections to match up with clients. 
 
The details on their site are a little thin, so we spoke to VP of Marketing Anthony who answered our questions.
 
Fabbaloo: How long has the service been operating? How many makers/clients served, etc?
WhatCanIMakeForYou: We have been in operating our site for a little over two months with great response from both consumers and makers worldwide. We are currently receiving roughly 100 requests per week by consumers looking for custom made products. Our database of makers that we use to fulfill these requests is also growing every day. We had a large rush of roughly one hundred makers at launch and are now adding roughly 80 makers a week. Our makers are everyone including artists, woodsman, tailors, web designers, etc.
 
FB: How do the finances work? What do clients pay? How much does a maker receive?
WCIMFY: When a request comes in to our site, we offer it to multiple makers. After seeing the availability and price quotes from the multiple makers we choose a maker who can 1) provide the best product, 2) delivery in a timely manner, and 3) offer it at the lowest price. That is the maker who "wins" the project. Upon completion and delivery of the product our website pays the maker the quote price. The consumer who requested the product pays the website the price quote along with a % fee for our services.
  
FB: What kind of items are requested? Would 3D Printer operators fit into your service?
WCIMFY: You name it, we have seen it. We get a wide array of types of projects. We get standard requests for furniture and apparel, but we also get requests for custom keyboards, statues, toys, etc. I definitely do see 3D printers providing value to consumers we get. With a feature from your blog and the inclusion of 3D Printer operators in our database, I do anticipate consumers using our site for their 3d printing needs.
 
We really like the incredibly simple approach, just like Google: it's a box and you just type in what you want. 
 
Bottom line: This seems to be another stop for makers looking for clients, along with 100KGarages, Ponoko and other distributed manufacturing initiatives. We recommend you give them a try, and let us know how it goes. 
  

Treating Clubfoot, One Print At A Time

According to Wikipedia, Clubfoot is a "congenital deformity involving one foot or both". You might not realize this, but clubfoot occurs naturally in approximately one out of every one thousand births. Without treatment, sufferers are forced to painfully walk on the sides of their feet and face a lifetime of misery. 
 
In developed nations clubfoot is often easily treated after birth with braces and therapy using the Ponseti method, with surgery rarely required. After treatment, the patient will have feet that function and appear normal. However, such miraculous treatment is not always available to citizens of poorer countries. 
 
Until now. 
 
Objet Geometries, makers of several lines of advanced commercial 3D printers, have donated materials and equipment to miraclefeet. The equipment will be used to design new braces that will open access to treatment for many who otherwise would not. The 3D printing approach enables teams to produce unique braces that are a lot more interesting than the current mass-produced items of today. 
 
Well done, Objet! Please donate at miraclefeet. 
 
Via miraclefeet (Hat tip to Rachael)

3D Printing For Girls: An Idea

If you read yesterday's post, you'll know about the controversy regarding BfB's attempt to address the younger female market. We pondered this situation: how to get more children (including female) to learn about, experience, desire and grow into 3D makers as they get older? 
 
Discussing this with a friend who has both a 3D printer and young female offspring, we realized that the children don't care so much about the printer or the hardware. No, instead they are focused on the experience; the result from using the hardware.
 
At that age they just want to get cool stuff that they like - such as jewelry, buttons, pins, etc. Young girls have such a desire for these things you will find huge chain stores (e.g. Claire's with 3,000+ worldwide locations) dedicated to addressing that specific need.
 
That's what the girls want to make. They don't care that the printer is pink; they want the experience you get from using one. For the majority of girls, the experience is receiving an object they like, not building a printer. 
 
So we think an answer to attracting young girls to 3D Printing might be to create a repository of things they can print.
 
Things They Like. Not things that engineers like to print. 
 
Imagine a ten year old girl surfing through today's version of Thingiverse looking for something she might like. That's right, she'd have big trouble finding anything of interest, although she would find tons of sophisticated engineering items. Now instead imagine her surfing through a branded site specifically designed for young girls containing hundreds of appropriate items to print - perhaps more items than she would find in her local Claire's. 
 
This is not unlike the hundreds of websites offering similar visual services for young girls, where girls create different looks by selecting from options presented. It works for these sites; why not for 3D printing? If girls were attracted in this way they would become very familiar with the notion of printing things you need, and this concept would be carried with them forever. They will expect to print things.  
 
Which company will be first to make a targeted 3D print repository? How about this one? 
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