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How 3D printing could change everything

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by OutsourcedGuru, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Ryan TeGantvoort

    Ryan TeGantvoort Active Member

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    Something like what you are describing would be insanely expensive to achieve. My time is definitely not free, even if it's a project for myself, I still consider it. I don't see any way to make this an actual business, let alone profit from it. Unless you are going to do it all for free, then by all means be my guest! The amount of time required, would immediately set it as unrealistic.

    For instance, if a consumer is fixing/upgrading some appliance/furniture/toy in their house (like you are "fixing" your 3D printer), you would have to receive the actual part in question (possibly what it is installed on as well) to reverse engineer the part then make the necessary changes. Or you could take some wild-ass guesses and do the whole Trial and Error thing. This already makes it too expensive.

    Shipping can be very expensive especially if you are not receiving discounted rates from your carrier of choice. Even if you leave the shipping out and have a local 3D printer print it and the consumer picks it up, still additional costs involved.

    Unless you have the consumer try to explain what they are looking for, but then you are creating a ton of complications for yourself. Plus if/when you get the part wrong by not having a hole in the right place it will always be your fault, even if they told you that is where it needed to be. And you will have to eat those costs.

    Honestly, a 15 minute conversation on the phone with any designing/engineering company, would likely set the consumer above their budget for the part in question. Most consumers have no idea the concepts of modeling, which makes communication very difficult. Or the ongoing costs that go along with the profession.

    I work with SolidWorks everyday and when I am working on a specific project my time is $100/hr. During the initial meeting, most people either have no idea what they want (they will expect you to know, read their mind), or they know exactly what they want but the product can't be manufactured in that way. Which, again, creates tons of complications. Not to mention all the headaches.

    So all in all, way too expensive even for someone who wants to throw a lot of money away. Plus with all the websites that are currently doing similar things, it would be hard to get your feet wet. Also if the consumers have so much money why not just buy something they actually want, instead of wasting time with this process. In your instance, they would just buy a new printer.

    I do like the concept, as I do not have a 3D printer at my house (just at work). I wish I did as I have lots of ideas. So if I wanted to have something made (for instance: the new windshield washer fluid lid on my car which I ordered from RockAuto, a low pressure A/C cap, or a new gear for the sunglasses holder) it would be convenient. Cost Effective? Absolutely not.

    We are a consumer country: if you don't like it, throw it away, and get one that you do like.
     
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  2. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer Admin
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    Spot on! Except for this:

    Get three... ;)
     
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  3. daniel871

    daniel871 Well-Known Member

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    Also, in most cases it is literally less expensive to track down the correct replacement part than it is to design and print one from a broken part.

    The only reason the instance of replacing a component on the Robo printer works is because Robo does not sell those replacement parts.

    Meanwhile, for 99% of the appliances used in conversations like this, if you have the model number of the appliance you can contact the manufacturer (or go on their website) and order replacement parts.
     
  4. Kilrah

    Kilrah Active Member

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    I don't understand your point.
    You're describing a standard design/engineering service, which has existed forever but is neither easy, fast nor cheap like what your original post suggests. As you say it requires some kind of spec, then multiple trial/rework iterative cycles.
    You won't ever get "send vague request and get perfect result next day for $10".
     
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  5. OutsourcedGuru

    OutsourcedGuru Active Member

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    @Ryan TeGantvoort I think then you'd need to create a service for the people who have so much money that they wouldn't mind the expense. "We are a consumer country: if you don't like it, throw it away, and get one that you do like." To this, I agree. That's part of my original observation; I don't like my stock filament detector so I'm throwing that away and getting the one I do like.

    Don't forget that many people believe themselves to be inventors. They secretively wish to invent things that change the world. They wish they had a 3D printer and knew how to use it. They're excited about Thingiverse because it makes them daydream about a better/cooler world.

    There's a certain amount of coolness to redesigning something that's in your own life. Having done so, you've now elevated yourself (in your own mind at least) that you're an engineer. Even if you "designed" this on some service using the labor and intelligence of someone else and you eventually receive the part, you can tell your friends that you made it. I wouldn't underestimate how this would feed someone's ego and by "someone" I mean a lawyer, a doctor, a stock trader or someone who has plenty of income and is reasonably smart in other areas.
     
  6. daniel871

    daniel871 Well-Known Member

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    You can tilt at that windmill all you want, but that won't make it a dragon.
     
  7. OutsourcedGuru

    OutsourcedGuru Active Member

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    I've already done this in the software development world, just not with a service as I'm describing. I had clients like Andrew Rudd and Jim Clark, both billionaires. The process was a bit like this.

    Andrew would show up weekly, suggest things he's like to see and I would make sure that the team would work toward those ideas. Granted, software development is different but the relationship is what I'm trying to talk about now. There's a person with lots of money who likes his own ideas and there are the people who are trained enough to produce that idea. I personally invoiced Andrew over a span of four years more than his own company did in twelve. I believe in getting paid. He was delighted to pay for a bespoke service like this mostly because it made him feel like he was the brains behind the effort.
     
  8. Kilrah

    Kilrah Active Member

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    Nothing new then, jsut a standard enginnering/consulting design company like thousands exist already, jsut a polished one tailored to appeal to rich people instead of catering for the needs of standard industrial clients.
     
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  9. Geof

    Geof Volunteer Moderator
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    let me know if you need a offsite print service when you get it going :D We have a few machines that could run some jobs for ya ;)
     
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  10. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer Admin
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    And by "few" he means like "12" ;)
     
  11. Geof

    Geof Volunteer Moderator
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    lol 12 is so 2 years ago :D. few more these days ;)
     
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  12. OutsourcedGuru

    OutsourcedGuru Active Member

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    Color me jealous. The girlfriend is the gating factor now for me.

    I would see myself as more of the geek who'd create the service rather than the geek making the printers happy.
     

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