If you think 3D printing isn't starting to catch on, this one's for you.
Although 3D printing is one of the most captivating emerging technologies right now, there are markedly few companies that have managed to show worthwhile profits or success at this point.
Most of the players in this nascent market are still going through the research and development stage, but not Shapeways. It has managed to print and sell more than one million user-created objects.
Shapeways works as a platform for third-party businesses to create and sell their own custom creations. Shapeways provides the 3D printing capabilities for a cut of any item sold.
It seems like a pretty fair arrangement, which is why there are more than 6,000 online stores powered by Shapeways, with a combined total of more than 150,000 members. Along with reaching the million-item milestone, the company also announced that it has secured $6.2 million in new Series B funding.
3D printing may still seem like a science fiction concept to the uninitiated, but to those who are willing to open their eyes, it is very apparent that it is here, it is now, and it is exploding in popularity.
Everything from glasses to bikinis to coasters to artificial bones to guitars (need we continue?) has been successfully printed from a 3D printer. It’s fascinating to watch this next evolution in scientific advancement.
The market that still needs to be tackled is 3D printers for the home, so that sites like Shapeways - the middleman - don't have to exist. But that will come in time.