Each hour seems to bring a new headline about 3D printing. Last week’s news included developments in 3D printing fabric, and the ability to use coffee grounds to print. And Brooklyn-based 3D printing manufacturer MakerBot is scaling up efforts to get schools to adopt the technology.
The worldwide market for 3D printing products and services grew to $4.1 billion in 2014.
Q: What does your company do?
A: Trove allows users to customize, try on, and buy 3D-printed jewelry. Our users can discover designs that were customized by their friends, community, or influencers, then re-customize these designs to fit their style. Once they like their design, they can request a free prototype and upon their approval have it shipped to them in materials ranging from sterling silver to 14K gold.
Q: Why do you like this work?
A: I really want to make 3D printing accessible for the common user. As a non-technical user, I found the 3D printing process to be magical but difficult to do at home. I wanted a service where I can choose any item, customize it, and have 3D printed and sent to me in metal.
Q: I imagine there are people out there who would say, “You’re destroying a tradition of craftsmanship.” What would be your response?
A: My response would be that we are democratizing access and usability to customization so that anyone can be a designer/craftsman.
Q: Desktop 3D printers are becoming more available to home users. What would you recommend that someone know before they buy?
A: I would recommend doing a lot of research first about what type of 3D printing best suits their needs (optical fabrication vs fused deposition modeling) and which printers would use the filament or resin that they are looking for. Also to familiarize themselves with post-processing techniques and CAD modeling.
Q: What are some things the average person might not know about 3D printing, but they should?
A: After an item prints on a desktop printer, there may need to be some post-processing to get the item to the quality that they desire. Also, different designs may be printable with one printing method and not with others.
Q: What are the limits of 3D printing?
A: Definitely print times of goods, the amount of post-processing needed to get the item to finish the good, and material cost (even though this is rapidly decreasing).