Mixing 3D printing, craftsmanship & honest design, Lance Atkins wants to bring useful, 3D printed goods into your home with the help of Shapeways and a Kickstarter project entitled Inherently Useful.
Over the past two years have seen an avalanche of Kickstarter projects launching 3D printers, 3D scanners along with the occasional project using 3D printing as a way to reward some of their backers but Inherently Useful may be the first to tie 3D printed products into every level of the project.
A range including a pen, vase, iPhone dock and lamps the range all uses Shapeways 3D printing to make fully functional objects for your daily use. The range has evolved out of products that Lance wanted for himself, and as is often the case on Shapeways, when you make something EXACTLY as you want it, often others have the same need and aesthetic so the product resonates with them in the very same way, it may even inspire them to make something for themselves.
"When I make something for myself, it's perfect, for me"
You can back Lance's Kickstarter project for as little as $1 but $29 will get you a 3D printed pen and over $350 will get you a couple of very cool 3D printed lamps, powered by Shapeways 3D printing:)
I guess I'm not current on Kickstarter but for some of these products why not just sell printed parts via the normal Shapeways channel and provide verified sources for other parts (like the test tubes) for customers to purchase separately? The only advantages I can see are economy of scale (500 test tubes purchased in bulk are cheaper) and less of a hassle factor for the customer.
"When I make something for myself, it's perfect, for me" - so I will then reproduce (mass-reproduce) it so that others can have exactly what suits me. Or, in other words, it becomes like any other non-customised, non-personalised product designed by someone.
I guess I was wondering more about the business model involved. If you're using a social network service to sell existing products why not use Groupon instead of Kickstarter? Or why not use use Shapeways instead of Groupon or Kickstarter? Obviously sourcing the parts for a lamp and assembling it is beyond the scope of the Shapeways but for products that only require simple accessories like test tubes or pen refill cartridges is it that much more expensive or difficult for customers to purchase the components from various certified sources? Is there really that much more profit in a value-added product that ships pre-assembled or with all the parts in a single shipment?
I sometimes think that Kickstarter is being used for the wrong reasons, on occasion. I'm not going to knock the guy for trying - good for him, and I wish him well. He has some nice designs there, nothing spectacular, but certainly marketable in what I would consider more traditional means. As has been mentioned, why not just sell direct from Shapeways? For the items that require other parts tell the buyers where they can be obtained or offer them yourself. Perhaps he's going after the market that would never, ever, visit Shapeways... who knows.