Source: Wired, May 2011
Designed on computer screens and then built layer by layer in industrial 3D printing machines, these intricate trinkets are eliciting all the head-turning excitement of a Maserati roaring along La Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival. Lisa Harouni, whose company Digital Forming is bringing 3D printing to high-street fashion brands and consumer product designers, has just convinced even the most skeptical investors here that something transformative is about to happen to the whole business of making things.
As prices fall, output quality rises and fabrication times become quicker, Digital Forming is working to democratize access to the technology by building a software platform that will let anyone design and co-create products over the web. She compares the software to a 3D version of Microsoft Word for 2D home printing — once you’re happy with your design, your product is manufactured on demand.
“You can use our platform to download a product from a partner brand, view that product in 3D, zoom in, rotate it, and start iterating by customizing that product according to your desires,” she says. “And if you’re not a designer, you’ll be able to use professional designs — so you’ll create made-to-fit products for your body such as shoes, or sportswear, or glasses.