Kevin Robertson wrote:
> 2) There have been a few postings regarding desk top modeling and the
> tremendous market potential that exists for such a product. If such a market
> exists wouldn't you be seeing major players such as Kodak, Xerox or Hewlett
> Packard creating these products? I'm curious as to the thoughts of the group
> on where this demand is going to be satisfied, the existing RP companies or
> a major corporation. Maybe such a product is being developed by the larger
> corporations, but I'm not aware of this. If it is not being developed, maybe
> the demand is being exaggerated?
> Kevin Robertson
> ARRK-San Diego, CA
dear Kevin and list,
I am a proponent of making rapid prototyping available across wider
disciplines and in popular venues. I have no concrete evidence that
anyone outside the auto/aero/engineering/medical/toy/product
visualization/archaeological/and on industries will have use of this.
(Funny as I write that I was just going to name a few and the list gets
bigger and bigger and bigger, Is this evidence of demand?). As this list
grows more and more people become aware of this.
Let me make a detour. The home hobby market serviced by companies such
as Home Quarters, Home Depot, Creative Crafts, etc.,. is an enormous
market. Sales to do it yourselfers is up around 11 billion dollars a
year. The consumers are typically between 30 and 65 years old, are
college educated, make between 45-85 K per year, and spend about 2-3K
per year on wood working materials and supplies. I would guess that it
is safe to assume that many are computer literate to the extent that
they use word processing, email, access databases, blah blah blah. These
people may or may not have bought a digital camera and installed simple
image editing software on their computers.
Well, we all know that you can't have rapid prototyping without a solid
modeler. Here's the glitch. Are the above consumers going to make time
in their lives on weekends to learn a solid modeling package so that
they can make hobby oriented things? I think we can all rest easy in the
So, where is this literacy going to come from. Firstly, the word's got
to get out about RP. OUt into the popular market the world. The
intangible ineffable market of the popular. Secondly the word's got to
get out that it is accesible--PUSH BUTTON. Thirdly there has to be an
installed base of software users out there who understand the creation
of 3 dimensional models. As Terry Wohlers beautifully wrote- the
software has to be as easy to use as a car. Where is this going to come
from? How is it going to work?
Trispectives has been the first affordable and relatively powerful
modeling program to make headway into this market. I'm not a user but
have heard there's some disapointment there. THe search continues, where
is this going to come from. The answer as usual is beneath our noses.
But aren't animation programs more intense and more difficult to use
than CAD? You betcha, and they are more exciting too! Much much more
exciting. They verge on Fashion. ew, Fashion. OH YES FASHION. Companies
that sell expensive equipment should study couture. Or the art market.
Or markets that are based on desire not on need. but thats another
Back to this animation thing. There are a host of modeler/animator
packages out there available for under $1000. Truly, I think this is a
generational thing. These 35-65 year olds are not going to learn
animation or cad. The aberrant few will, but not enough to make a
market. The generation of kids who are now 16-24 are 3D FANATICS. They
are into games in a big way. They learn programming to make games. The
know 3d animation software to goof around with games or creating games.
Its hip and cool and hot and buys them a lot of social priveledge among
their peers. The web abounds with such "hobbyists". 3D websites, and
quick time animations.
Last night I gave a lecture to a bunch of high school art camp students.
I asked how many of you know how to use computers. About 3/4's. How many
are aware of animation programs. a little less but about 3/4's. How many
know how to use animation programs? about 1/2 of the 3/4's. How many
raised their hands out of peer pressure--no way to know exactly. By the
way, they were fascinated with the potential of rapid prototyping. They
buzzed with excitement when viewing my strange rapid prototyped
creatures via slides.
Conclusions: Rp companies should not only develop their own proprietary
software they should make calls to the software companies that sell
animation tools and facilitate the inclusion of stl as a standard in all
the programs. They should provide text for the manuals about stl, what
it is how it works, how to make models with that particular package for
stl output. They should get their PR people placing articles in the New
York Times and all other major newspapers regularly about the marvels
and wonders and news of rapid prototyping. The word has got to get out.
Its really not very diffiicult to get articles done in popular
publications. Perhaps they should even make strategic alliances with
less expensive software package to include a push button, like the print
command, in the menu. Get it in place. They should place rapid
prototyping machinary--used machinary in schools, but for god's sakes
not just the engineering schools. Art schools, high schools,
Youch, I just got carried away here. Got to get back to work. One more
basic. Want to popularize the RP market. Tell everyone you know about it
and how cool it is. share your experience and the excitement you have
for the future.
Is there any way to measure the concrete demand for rapid prototyping
outside of the community which now uses it? Nope! Can things catch fire
to the extent that it captures the popular imagination and the industry
just takes off! Yup! Tell people this simple formula
What desktop publising was to the '80's
desktop manufacture is to the '90's and beyond!
Why am I so interested in all this. After all, I'm just a sculptor. I
want the technology to become more affordable (to me) and easier. I want
to drop my disks at kinkos and pick up a $35.00 model later in the day!!
(And I want it now--smile)
-- michael rees http://www.sound.net/~zedand00/ 1212 w 8th St. Bldg B #2, KC, Mo 64101 816 753 3020 v 816 753 1542 f
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