Amazon takes a cue from Shapeways with its own 3D printing store

Sculpteo prints your 3D models, and now can do so in batches with variable pricing. #CES2014

Above: Sculpteo prints your 3D models, and now can do so in batches with variable pricing. #CES2014

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi
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Amazon just entered the 3D printing market with a new Shapeways-like store.

The new marketplace will give customers access to 3D printing tools like filament, computer aided design software, and printer accessories, as well as more than 200 3D printed products, many of which are customizable.

The market place also features a 3D product preview that will allow customers to see a virtual product from all angles before placing their order — a feature similar to the 3D function on Amazon’s Fire phone.

Amazon continues to position itself as the store of the future: first with its drone delivery service; then with the Amazon Fire phone’s “Firefly” augmented reality feature (that lets customers see what a product will look like in their home before purchasing it); and now with 3D manufacturing. The Everything Store’s latest storefront is a place where you can review a product as if it were in front of you, have it printed to your specification, and then get it delivered as quickly as possible.

It’s a smart move too. While a number of 3D printed product markets exist, they’re still pretty niche; only people in the growing maker community seek out these sites and use them. Selling 3D printed products and services on Amazon’s ubiquitous online market may finally propel 3D printing and its products into the mainstream. At the very least, the average Internet shopper is now more likely to stumble upon 3D printed products.

So far it looks like Sculpteo is working with Amazon on this project as well as the Brooklyn-based Mixee Labs. However, there’s no doubt that Amazon’s list of 3D sellers will soon expand.

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