3D printing? Surely that is the stuff of science fiction and top secret research and development experiment using equipment that costs millions? Not any more – 2017 really looks like the year that the 3D printer has entered the mainstream and is becoming the must-have gadget that will soon be a common feature in every home and business.

With a wide variety of cheap 3d printers available for under $1,000, the technology really is there for everyone. So what is all the hype about, and can a few hundred dollars of investment really bring benefits to your business? Let’s take a look.

Manufacture and prototyping

Of course, the main point of 3D printing is creating your own products. While going into full scale production might not be a 3D printing option for you right now, it can be a great tool in new product development, allowing you to create prototypes of anything you can imagine.

If you can craft it on the screen, you can print it. For manufacturers, it can be a cost-effective way of comparing and contrasting different prototypes early on in the design stage.

Customizing

Perhaps one of the biggest advances that the technology of 3D printing can bring is the power of personalization. 3D printing gives the opportunity to produce bespoke, customized items, exactly the way the customer wants them, without having to rely on third party manufacturers.

Even better, 3D printing makes customization easier without specialist design knowledge. All you need to do is use the software to conceptualize what is wanted on screen, and you can transform it into reality.

Promotion

A 3D printer is a marketers dream. Slash your advertising and promotional budget, while at the same time making your strategy more effective, by creating a variety of interesting and innovative promotional items.

By using 3D business cards mean you stand out from the crowd, and promotional gifts can, again, be personalized for each recipient to give that personal touch.

Drive your Business Forward

There is no doubt that a 3D printer can bring huge benefits to every aspect of your business, and will soon be as ubiquitous as your trusty deskjet. It pays to be an early adopter and get ahead of the pack.