Tag Archives: consumer

3D Printer Firm MakerBot Takes on the MP3 Market Player With MixTape

MakerBot MixTape

MakerBot is well known for its affordable consumer 3D printers. Now the company is branching out into consumer entertainment products with its new MixTape – buy it or print it.

From the MakerBot website:

A long time ago, before Pandora or RDIO or even ancient technologies like iTunes, there was the mixtape — a carefully selected group of songs, organized into a playlist and recorded onto a cassette. You had to get these songs from other tapes or even record them from the radio. You had to have a machine that allowed for transferring songs from one tape to another tape. The whole process took planning… and patience. But the payoff was oh so sweet.

The MakerBot Applications team, our division of makers and designers, have figured out a way to bring this magic back to life — with a modern twist — and make it 3D-printed, too.

MakerBot Mixtape Unassembled

If you own a MakerBot printer, the unassembled “print your own” version sells for $25. Or you can buy an assembled MixTape for $39.

CNET reviewed the device.

The actual specs of the MixTape MP3 player are modest. It has 2GB of storage capacity, and a 4-hour lithium-ion battery that charges when you connect it to your Mac or PC via the included USB cable. The MixTape also conveniently functions as a standard thumb drive.

MakerBot produced the video below to showcase the nostalgia and romance of the MixTape product.


Afinia Targets Consumer Market with New 3D Printer Priced at $1499

Afinia H-Series 3D Printer

Watch out MakerBot and Cube! Adding to the competitive market for consumer 3D printers, Afinia enters with the H-Series priced at $1499 and weighing under 11 lbs.

From their press release:

Afinia, a division of Microboards Technology LLC, a leader in specialized printing solutions for 3D printing and rapid prototyping has officially launched its H-Series 3D Printer. The Afinia H-Series 3D Printer provides a true “Out of the Box 3D Printing Experience” as the 3D Printer comes fully assembled, with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac. The printer is both portable and affordable at a low cost of $1499. The Afinia H-Series can prototype a part or model that is up to 5 inches cubed in dimension.

The custom designed 3D Printing Software features an easy-to-use interface for laying out, orienting, duplicating, and scaling your designs. Simply use the included utility to calibrate the printhead height, and within minutes you are printing. The software imports .stl files, and allows the output to be customized in terms of the amount of support material and “raft” (base support) printed. Breakaway support material created in the printing process is simple to remove, and tools for aiding the breakaway are included. Design files can be created using a variety of online softwares, professional software packages such as SolidWorks ™, or by downloading from the extensive online community for free.

The Afinia H-Series 3D printer uses inexpensive, high-quality plastic filament offered in a wide array of colors including: natural (white), black, red, yellow, glow blue and glow green. The portable H-Series 3D Printer weighs less than 11lbs making it easy to transport. Additionally, the H-Series can print in a standalone mode. Simply choose your .stl file, printing parameters, and hit print. You will then be free to disconnect your computer from the printer at any time.


Results of First Survey On 3D Printing: Adoption, Education, Services

[Updated for corrections]

The results of the first survey on 3D printing are captured below, courtesy of Statistical Studies of Peer Production. We wanted to highlight the most interesting statistics.

First engagement with 3D printing: The survey asked respondents when they first used 3D printing. The largest concentration was for the year 2011. 2010 and 2012 were close runners up. This suggests that we are at an inflection point for adoption of 3D printing.

Chart 3D Printing First Engagement

Education level: 33.7% of 3D printing users have a 4-year college degree and another 23.5% have an advanced degree. This suggests that the earliest adopters are mainly well-educated people.

Chart 3D Printing Education Level



Most commonly used 3D printers: The most commonly used 3D printer was RepRap, with MakerBot as the close second.

Most Commonly Used 3D Printers

Usage of 3D printing services: The most-used 3D printing service was Shapeways. Others, like i.materialise and Ponoko, were not commonly used. The largest response to this question was “none”, which suggests that these 3D printing services have a long road ahead in terms of driving awareness.

Chart 3D Printing Services

Read the full report at PeerProduction.net.

Here is a video by Stephen Murphey visualizing the results.

3D Systems Acquires FreshFiber for 3D Printed Electronics Accessories

FreshFiber Personalized 3D Printed iPhone Cases

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) has announced the acquisition of Amsterdam-based FreshFiber BV, a leading 3D printing consumer goods brand. The photo above showcases several custom iPhone case designs sold by FreshFiber, each depicting the landmarks of a different major city and manufactured using 3D printing.

From their press release:

3D Systems plans to integrate FreshFiber into its growing consumer business and leverage the FreshFiber brand and leadership position to expand its reach into individualized and personalized electronics accessories.

“This is an exciting development that will allow us to bring an expanded range of accessories and services to our customers,” said Christian Dijkhof of FreshFiber.

FreshFiber is the leading 3D printed consumer electronics accessories brand sold on-line and in retail stores today.  Over the past two years, FreshFiber grew its product offering and presence globally through high-end retail stores like Apple, FNAC and Gravis.

“FreshFiber delivers extraordinary personalization and style through a wide range of co-creation APPS and choices that empower consumers to customize their accessories, including its flagship iPhone® cases,” said Cathy Lewis, Vice President Global Marketing for 3D Systems. “We plan to enhance FreshFiber’s portfolio through our technology and manufacturing infrastructure as well as our growing Cubify.com platform.”

This acquisition comes just weeks after the acquisitions of My Robot Nation and Paramount Industries, and Q1 results with record revenue.