There just aren’t enough choices.
Sometimes you really want a product, but you don’t buy it. Because the colors don’t work. Because it’s just a little too small or a little too big.
You’re like Goldilocks: you only want to spend money if it’s just right. And you are not alone.
There’s another trend that’s developed (and continuing to develop) over the past couple of years, too. People want unique. Mindshare found that “58 percent of consumers say they ‘prefer unique versus mass produced goods.'”
That’s a very good thing for 3D printing.
The Opportunity to Create What You Want – Exactly How You Want It
At this point, the use of 3D printing isn’t widespread enough in consumer goods to see exactly how it will look in the future. But there are two possibilities:
- You create your own 3D design and either print it yourself or use one of the many on-demand 3D printing services available ( like Lowe’s is doing here ).
- You buy a company’s design, but they make it to your specifications ( as Adidas is planning on doing with their 3D-printed sneaker ).
Going Far Beyond Buying Your Favorite Color
All of the above is really cool. But that’s not where 3D printing and personalization will have the biggest impact in our lives. Instead, let’s talk about dentures.
Yep, dentures. None of us want to think about dentures – they have all sorts of negative connotations. However, you might need them one day.
And when you do, hopefully 3D printing will have made it so you don’t have to experience what the current wearers of dentures do.
Dentures are uncomfortable. They’re hard to clean. Food gets stuck in them. Sometimes you can’t pronounce certain words.
And then 3D Printing Came Along
Okay, truthfully, dentures have always been personalized. Your dentist takes a casting of your mouth and sends off the mold to be manufactured.
It still wasn’t good enough, according to a study released July 2017 .
In this study, each participant wore two different sets of dentures for 30 days each: one pair of conventional dentures, and one pair manufactured with laser sintering .
The results: five of the participants preferred the 3D-printed dentures. One preferred the conventional dentures. Three had no preference.
The Long-Term Effect of 3D Printing
3D printing has long has a positive impact on the healthcare industry , both in creating medical devices like dentures and in providing educational opportunities for both medical students and actively practicing professionals.
The power of 3D printing lies in the speed with which we can create personalized products and the ability to make them out of new materials and as a single piece.
Of course, we’d also like to have a pair of shoes that aren’t ugly and are actually wide (or narrow enough) for our feet. That’s some positive impact in and of itself!