Feb.17, 2014

Pittsburgh is home to a number of companies in the 3-D printing business. ExOne, a key 3D printer maker for industrial customers, makes two of the largest 3D printers in the world for sand and metal materials. Another company, AlphaLab Gear startup PieceMaker Technologies, is working to develop a 3D printer kiosk system that allows retailers to provide low-cost customizable products for customers, creating a factory-in-a-store experience.

Here is how it works: From an interactive touchscreen kiosk customers can pick a model from a pre-tested set of designs, mix-n-match a variety of shapes and themes, pick the colors and then add their own personal message or design before sending the design to print. A 3D printer in the Print Station will then build customer's order. Once a piece is finished, the customers can walk out with a finished product. The whole process takes only around 20 minutes.

The Print Station, including a simple touchscreen monitor and a 3D printer will be provided by PieceMaker. The startup will also give 1-hour training session as well as monthly tune-up and annual servicing to retailers.

Co-founder and CTO Alejandro Sklar said the idea is businesses, such as toy stores, don't have to spend a lot of money on inventory guessing what consumers might want, and can instead make products at the point of sale, which can allow for affordable customization. These low cost, highly personalized items could increase repeat and impulse purchases and make more sales for small businesses.

The PieceMaker 3D printer installed in the Print Station features solid metal frame, fully enclosed body, lightweight carriage system, XY core system, dual print heads and stationary heated print bed.


  • Build envelope: 7 x 7 x 7 in / 178 x 178 x 178 mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.35 mm
  • Min. Layer Resolution: 0.1 mm
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card

The included Piece-it! software allows users to easily organize, view, edit, and fabricate 3D models. It automatically creates and organizes Piece Libraries for each user. Once you build a list of goods to be printed, the Piece-It! Print queuing system will automatically pack each print to minimize overall print time.

CEO Arden Rosenblatt said they are hoping to pilot the kiosks in April and are pre-selling PieceMaker Printer and software online for $1,299.

Arden Rosenblatt, CEO & Co-Founder


Posted in 3D Printers



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Julio wrote at 2/18/2014 4:55:08 PM:

It will let the stores get rid of 'some' inventaries, but not all. For the customer, it will be a bad experience. Waiting for something already designed is dumb. I rather have the store have what I want in inventary. The only pro I see is having a 3D printable selection of hard to get parts, like spare parts that is not worth having in stock. But for everyday items this is dumb. When the kiosk allow design pieces in site, they'll worth it. Best use I can think of would be letting customers bring in their own designs and print them there. Very useful for people that want to print but don't own a 3D printer.

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