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3D Printing & Marketing Campaigns

3D printing is a very fascinating technology out there in myopinion. It is a form of manufacturing that constructs products in a layer bylayer process to form a final product. These final products can be much moreintricate than other forms of manufacturing, as 3D printing is geometricallyindependent in many cases. I want to talk to you about what 3D printing can doto boost marketing efforts.  For something to be 3D printed, it first has to be designed.Anyone can create something for this manufacturing process; if it can bedesigned on the computer, it can more than likely be manufactured through thistechnology. Prior to anything, a design has to be created. This design willthen be sent to a 3D printer, or the machine that manufactures the product.This 3D printer will then create a product layer by layer until a final pieceemerges. The final piece could be created from materials such as ABS plastic,precious metals like gold or silver, polycarbonates or ceramics, or fullcolored materials. There are over 60 materials to choose from in fact.  Like I mentioned earlier, pretty much anyone can create adesign for 3D printing. If someone has a computer, they can gain access tovarious free 3D softwares out there and then they can create a model formanufacturing! This is ideal for CG artists or designers out there who simplywant to see their work come to life. What happens when small businesses or evenlarge corporations utilize this technology? Objet, one of the leaders in 3D printing technologies, camein contact with a very interesting client. The project I’m going to cover wasused as a strong marketing piece. Bungie, developer of the video game series:Halo, approached Objet to manufacture a diorama of a battle scene prior to thelaunch of Halo 3. Objet constructed dozens of character models of aliens andhumans “going at it” in a large scale battle. Tanks, futuristic assaultvehicles, space ships, and ogre-like aliens were created in this piece. Thisscale modeled battle scene was video-recorded, and used as a commercial for thelaunch of Halo 3. This scene caught my eye a few years ago back when I was invideo games, and needless to say – I bought the product, as well as millions ofother teenagers. This piece was made through 3D printing, and had a strongeffect on the marketing campaign of Halo 3.  Recently, my company has taken an order from a ball-valvecompany that works in the oil and gas industry here in Houston Texas. Theirdesigners came up with a model for these valves, and we 3D printed replicas ofthem in full color. These printed pieces were then handed to salesrepresentatives to be used for selling the models. Having a client physicallyhold a model of the final product can make a huge impact on a sale!  3D printing has also helped product developers present newideas to investors. The price to manufacture 2-3 prototypes through 3D printingisn’t daunting; it can cost less than a few hundred dollars in many cases.Having a physical model of a new toy, gadget, or gizmo to present to investorsis a big deal when working with people who would fund the project. This alsoapplies to other industries like architecture. Marketing can truly be enhancedby 3D printing; having physical visuals can really change the game!

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