We ran across an interesting service that provides post-print finishing services, specifically in metal. According to their "about":
3DDC is the first European company to set up a metal coating facility specifically for products that have been produced using rapid prototyping (RP) and rapid manufacturing (RM) technologies. The Metalise™ it… process was developed by AT-3D SQUARED and can now, through the experts at 3DDC, provide customers with the highest quality of plated RP parts available on the market today. The company specialises in metal coating parts for one-off projects or small lot production runs.
Their finishing capability is impressive, as you can see in the image above. Metal finishes include:
- High Gloss Copper
- Technical Nickel
- High Gloss Nickel
- Brushed High Gloss Nickel
- Black Technical Nickel
- Black High Gloss Nickel
- Art Copper
Metalised objects are clearly a lot different from the classic translucent plastic blobs that emerged from early 3D printers, simply because the visual and tactile aspects are so important to consumers. We think there will be a growing market for finishing services such as 3DDC's, or at least until printers can do it themselves.
Via 3DDC (Hat tip to Rachel)