April 18, 2013

A 3D printing store will open in Chicago next Monday (April 22). Founded by Chicago native Julie Friedman Steele and Mike Mocheri, the store, named as "The 3D Printer Experience," will be the only retail and interactive store of its kind in Chicago.

Chicago FOX 32 reporter Amara Walker visited this new store at 316 N. Clark St. in River North.

Just press "print" and out pops, whatever you want, really: an iPhone case made from powdered nylon, a unique designer lamp, an 18 karat gold ring--even a replica of a multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin!

"This is going to change the way we make almost anything," says co-founder Julie Friedman Steele. "This completely disrupts the manufacturing supply chain." She believes 3D printer could soon become a common household item.

But first of all, let people experience it. Friedman Steele says that "The 3D Printer Experience" will be a combination of store, photo booth and learning space. She says she learns this strategy from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

"How do you create mass adoption for new technology?" Friedman Steele said. The iPhone "was so different. People were like, 'I'm used to punching buttons. I'm not doing a touch screen.' Woz said that if you can have people interact with it, and not have them be afraid, and not make them feel dumb, but to embrace them into using it, then it works."

At The 3D Printer Experience, eight learning stations, including Makerbot Replicator 1 & 2, UP! mini, laser-sintering system EOS Formiga P110, are installed where visitors could spend time experiencing the 3D printing and 3D scanning.

To show to Amara Walker how it works, co-founder Mike Mocheri first scanned her from every angle. That image was sent to the makerbot printer to be printed out. The prices for 3D printed head range from $25 (small size) to $115 (Extra Large).

All visitors can experience being scanned and replicated as a 3D portrait. Or they can design their own jewelry with a custom and easy-to-use app that turns anyone into a professional pendant designer.

In addition, a Filabot, the desktop extruding system which is capable of grinding various types of plastics to make spools of plastic filament for 3D printers, will arrive in the store in May. Visitors can witness how the system grinds waste plastic into filament.

There are also different 3D printing workshops that visitors could apply. Moceri says that their goal is to get people develop projects independently and then come to the shop to print their design out.

Check out "The 3D Printer Experience" website here, or if you are in the Chicago area, visit their store on April 22 at 316 N. Clark Street.


Posted in 3D Printing Services



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Robb Benson wrote at 6/4/2013 5:30:11 PM:

Julie I was reading a bit about your philosophy and I came across another individual who shares the same I thought what a perfect combination as they created a BIo-Battery that could be used for 3rd world energy so with your printing capabilities and there battery platform you could solve a major global issue! There company is vortexpowerenergy.com

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