3D printing is changing the way we do a lot of things lately, whether it is building homes, constructing cars, providing us better medical technology, or one of the thousands of other ways people are using the technology. One thing that 3D printing has been used for, for years, however, is rapid prototyping. The technology allows for the prototyping of products within hours of the design being drawn up, compared to several months with traditional means, which surprisingly, many companies still use.
Bhold, a company that creates unique products such as iPhone holders, sound pods, cable clips, and espresso cups, today has announced a partnership with 3D printer manufacturer, Ultimaker. The partnership will bring a type of product prototyping that has never been seen before, to not only the company, but also their potential customers. Using the Ultimaker community, YouMagine.com, they will release prototype designs of their products for anyone to download for free, 3D print at home, and provide feedback towards.
Bhold has been allowing for the “beta testing” of physical products since September of 2013, but this will be the first time that these products will be able to be printed by the “testers” in their own homes, on their own 3D printers. Previously, products had to be mailed out to those signing up to test them.
“I admire Ultimaker’s advanced hardware and open source philosophy which has led them to have one of the strongest, most supportive communities in the maker movement to date,” said Bhold’s Susan Taing. “I’m excited to take Bhold’s product design to the next level through thoughtful feedback from their community.”
Anyone wishing to take part in the testing of Bhold’s next product can register at the Bhold Labs website. If you don’t have a 3D printer you can still sign up, and the company will select some of these individuals to receive the beta products by traditional means (the postal service). Those with a 3D printer should also register, so that they can download the design files and then provide feedback for the next iteration of the product.
“3D printer owners, whether they’re a professional, a hobbyist or a first-timer, are always looking for new, inventive ways to use their 3D printer,” explained Ultimaker’s Matthijs de Deugd. “We think this is an excellent way for them to interact with the latest 3D printing technology and our machines, to see a new crowdsourced product come to life through their feedback.”
The beta files will be released for download in October, and the final product is expected to be made available sometime in December (2014). What do you think about this initiative by these two up-and-coming companies? Discuss in the 3D Printed Bhold Prototypes forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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