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3D printing for the masses: Amazon launches online store

Published time: July 29, 2014 04:28
Reuters/Gary Cameron

Reuters/Gary Cameron

Amazon’s ambitious expansion doesn't just involve delivery drones – the company launched a new online store on Monday dedicated to selling 3D printed products.

The new marketplace is home to more than 200 items that can be printed on demand, including jewelry, fashion accessories, toys, kitchen supplies, and home décor. Each item can also be customized for consumer preference, meaning buyers can specifiy an item’s size, color, text, and image prints, and even material.

Before you place an order, you can even use a new preview function that allows you to rotate the item 360 degrees.

In a statement, Amazon announced it is partnering with 3D printing manufacturers like Sculpteo, 3DLT, and Mixee Labs.

"The introduction of our 3D printed products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail -- that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own," Amazon's Petra Schindler-Carter said.

Prices can vary considerably on the website. A quick look shows that customized wallets are going for $36, while 3D printed bobble heads retail for around $30. Jewelry can range from $13 for unique rings to $75 for pendants.

Mixee Labs co-founder Nancy Liang pointed to customization as a key feature for the 3D printed marketplace, saying it has the potential to change the way people shop and personalize their purchases.

“The personalization widget empowers customers to make something unique in seconds without knowing how to 3D model,” she said. “Customization gives customers the power to remix their world, and we want to change the way people shop online. It also makes the shopping experience more fun, creative and personal.”

The move follows a similar initiative announced by eBay earlier this month. As noted by The Verge, eBay’s new iPhone app, called eBay Exact, allows users to buy select 3D printed goods through their phone.

As for Amazon, the company isn’t stopping at 3D printing. As RT reported earlier in July, it has applied for permission to conduct outdoor tests for delivery drones. The drones can travel over 50 miles per hour while carrying five-pound cargo, and Amazon is hoping the Federal Aviation Administration will sign off on its application.

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