Although 3D printing has been out for quite some time, it has only recently started to become more affordable and accessible to the common consumer. We saw some great projects launch and succeed in 2013, so 2014 might be where 3D printing hits a new stride.
While attending CES 2014 for the week, I was able to stop by the different 3D printers to see live demonstrations.
It’s one thing to view images and/or video online. It’s much more exciting to witness a live demonstration and be able to examine the results right as they finish.
But of the 3D printing booths, one stood out in particular. WhiteClouds had a good looking booth with and assortment of printed examples out for inspection. When I was greeted, I threw my hands up and asked, “So where are the printers??”
As it turns out, WhiteClouds is a 3D printing service. They understand that even if a person can afford a 3D printer, running the software to do so can be frustrating and/or intimidating to the average user.
I know many friends and acquaintances that still haven’t fully figured out their smartphones, so this makes sense.
Users are able to submit a photo or drawing to the WhiteClouds website, and the team, skilled with 3D modeling software, turns it into a reality. As I inspected the pieces in front of me, I was amazed by the intricate level of color detail.
They explained how their printing process is different, in that one nozzle lays down the material and another one injects color right behind it. Once a print job has been completed, it undergoes an adhesion process to firm it up into one solid piece.
The costs vary, based on each cubic-inch worth of space/material. Large items can easily reach up into the thousands. But the hand-held size is pretty affordable, ranging from $5 to $20, depending. From casual to professional, one is only limited by ideas.
If you have a photo or imagination, WhiteClouds can help make it a reality. Before I left the booth, my head was already filling with ideas of unique gifts that I can have crafted for others.
Check out the WhiteClouds website for more information. They have entire pages dedicated to providing information about 3D printing in general, which for a great place to visit even if you’re only a little bit curious.