MakerBot operator Pete Hinzy asks an interesting question:
who else out there is using their MakerBot or other type of low cost manufacturing equipment as a part of their business? What is your business model? Pricing structures, etc.?
For certain, the MakerBot and similar low-cost 3D printers don't offer typical commercial capabilities, such as reliability, high-volume capacity or onsite service plans, even though they are massively fun to build and use. But Pete's question makes us ponder the possibilities.
If one had such a printer in operation, could it be used commercially in a microManufacturing manner? What niche markets in your neighbourhood might be served by a simple manufacturing center?
We recall the famous video ("Better Living With MakerBot - Episode 1: Kitchen Lamp") in which a lamp is reattached by replicating a broken fixture in less than an hour. This clearly illustrates a need that all of us have from time to time: we need a small part and it would be nearly impossible to find it at the local hardware store. Typically we improvise, give up or replace a much larger item for the sake of the smaller part. Could that be the scenario that neighbourhood 3D printers could address?
What other commercial uses have you managed to successfully perform using your low-cost 3D printer? Tell us in the comments below.