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Crowdfunding Spurs Growth of 3D Printing

CrowdFundBeat – Robert J. Mullins – Sr. Staff Writer, San Jose, Ca. September 20, 2013 – Although 3D printing was developed as far back as 1988, it’s enjoyed rapid growth in just the last few years due, in part, to crowdfunding. The surge of growth in 3D printing was on display in San Jose, Calif., at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo held Sept. 17 and 18, drawing 3D printer makers, service providers and others in the 3D ecosystem. In just the last year, more than 100 3D printer manufacturers have entered the market, most of them selling consumer-targeted printers rather than large industrial systems, said Hod Lipson, the chair of the 3D Printing Conference. While he’s not sure how many of those startups were crowdfunded, some of them certainly are. Nonetheless, many of these startups use open source software to run their printers, which he said is a form of crowdsourcing. At the same time, other businesses buy 3D printers to start their own businesses. “What 3D printers allow people to do is to bootstrap their manufacturing operations without needing large upfront investments in manufacturing. That goes hand-in-hand very well with other forms of bootstrapping like crowdsourcing and crowdfunding,” […]

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