Feb 15, 2016 | By Tess

Just months ago, retail 3D printing company PieceMaker announced an exciting partnership with Nickelodeon to bring the network’s most beloved children’s characters to life through 3D printing technologies. Now, the Pittsburgh, PA based company has made two more exciting announcements: a partnership with Ford Motor Company to make 3D printable and customizable toy cars, and the launch of PieceMaker Metals, their first break into the 3D printing metal industry.

More than just announcements, both the recent partnership with Ford and new metal 3D printing practices will be showcased at this year’s Toy Fair in New York City which runs from February 13th to the 16th.

PieceMaker has specialized in offering customized 3D printing services to certain retail locations throughout the United States through their proprietary PieceMaker Factory since 2013. Essentially, the system allows for consumers to browse and personalize a variety of 3D printable products—to date the company has focused on toys, collectibles, and fashion accessories—and have them created on demand and shipped to the nearest applicable retail location.

The partnership with Ford Motor Company is sure to delight any young child with a love for cars,  as they will be able to design and customize their very own miniature Ford models. For now, PieceMaker is making it possible to 3D print toy version of the F-150 and Ford Mustangs.

“We are tremendously excited to work with Ford to bring their iconic F-150 and Mustang into the exciting world of in-store 3D printing,” says Arden Rosenblatt, PieceMaker CEO. “Ford is once again demonstrating its innovation leadership by working with PieceMaker to incorporate cutting-edge 3D technology into kids’ everyday lives.”

The toy car models can be customized through the PieceMaker Factory platform as kids or any toy car collectors can choose the color, chassis and truck body styles—Traditional, Baja, or Sport—that they want their toy Ford to have. The F-150 will be showcased at Toy Fair NYC 2016, and the Mustang is set to be officially unveiled early this spring.

Ford Licensing Manager Mark Bentley says of the collaboration, “Ford is pleased to license its 3D vehicle images to PieceMaker for this unique and innovative retail launch. Enabling consumers to 3D print Ford vehicles at toy stores is just another example of the importance Ford places on the future of 3D printing.”

The Ford Motor Company has also helped to finance many developing 3D printing research projects, and has been using the technology for years in their automobile prototyping processes.

PieceMaker is also branching out into the realm of metal 3D printing to allow its customers the option to 3D print personalized items such as collectibles or jewelry pieces out of various types of metal, from colored steels, to silver, gold, brass, and bronze.

Similar to their toy producing model, PieceMaker Metals will provide clients with the opportunity to customize 3D models from their kiosks at participating brick and mortar stores. From there the designs will be sent to 3D printing industry partners where they will be manufactured and subsequently shipped straight to the customer.

As Arden Rosenblatt says, “We are tremendously excited to develop this new capability by partnering with the most advanced metal printing companies in the US, integrating PieceMaker’s unique expertise in mass customization for the retail space, to make personalized metal products more accessible and affordable than ever before. We believe this is the first step to a much more personalized, more exciting global jewelry and collectibles market.”

To give an idea, the company has stated that the cost to additively manufacture certain specialized steel products will start at $19.99, though naturally for finer metals such as silver or gold, the price would go up accordingly. The technology will be showcased alongside the 3D printed toy cars at Toy Fair, as well as their products made in association with Nickelodeon.

One of 3D printing’s biggest appeals in the context of retail manufacturing is the possibility to customize products and have them manufactured on-demand. With PieceMaker’s impressive partnerships with media giants such as Nickelodeon and auto manufacturers like Ford, they are right on the pulse of retail 3D printing and we are sure they will continue to innovate and change the face of retail manufacturing at large.

To see whether there is a PieceMaker friendly location near you, check out their website.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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