A few of the Shapies are BWM nuts. Arno our head of software
developments has a racer in some rather
interesting colors, Peter (our CEO) has two M3s and Robert (our
CTO) has this lovely little convertible he got second hand from a local
hairdresser. It was therefore a brilliant move by Peter Paul (himself a
Volkswagen fan) when he started to develop the guaranteed crowd pleaser:
gear shifter for BWM.
This steel 3D print can be attached to the
standard gear shift knob in many models of BMW. You can Co-Create by
uploading any image
of your liking, a logo, some initials whatever you want and then for
$40 we will ship a customized gear shift insert to you for you to
install. For a few days you can even still get it in gold. Any
our part however do not extend into the realm of taste.The one on the
left below by the way is manually polished. What do you guys think of
that finish? The one on the right is for Arno and in the logo of his four man racing team.
This gear shifter is a product. And you could buy
it. But, more importantly it is a bit of inspiration. Right now we have a
steadily growing number of Co-Creators on
Shapeways, 450 or so. A lot of these focus on jewelry, accessories
and interior decoration items. But, there is a lot more in the world you
could "custom fit" to people's liking. We hope that this inspires you
guys to think outside that dastardly box, the home!
In cars for example you can see the enthusiasm Jay
Leno has shown for replacing automobile parts. The car aftermarket/turning/customization industry is a $31 billion a year industry in the US
alone. There are millions of car nuts like Arno, Peter and Robert. They all love their cars and many of them would like to improve them or personalize them in some way. Ultimately of course the car manufacturers themselves will be using design tools and 3D printing production equipment to give you customization options from the get go. Indeed the sheer volume of choice in car accessories and models has been
accelerating. Right now the first 3D
printing techniques are already used in very high end automobiles and
in Formula 1 and we can 3D print metal parts of
up to 1 meter so, money no object we could 3D print your entire car. In time costs will be lowered for this to become more and more accessible. But, as we've shown with the gear shifter there is a lot of opportunity to make less expensive things, today. So what are affordable designs that people can customize in order to personalize their iron steed right now?
Yeah, great idea on the custom car part designs. I watched Jay Leno on the Discovery channel recently where he was showed how to scan in a broken but glued together part of a really old car engine. This was then rapid prototyped into a useable part... I guess that's where he was sold on the technology and ordered machines for his garage (which is about the size of a friggin plane hangar!)
The car customisation market is a thriving one. If people are willing to pay for bmw swirl flaps, they surely would not mind buying these customized gear shifter. However, some would still prefer the stock gear shift.