TMBA 314: The 3D Revolution

TMBA314: The 3D Revolution post image

Podcast 27:32 | Download | Stitcher | iTunes | Comment

In this week’s episode Dan and Ian invite you to share in one of Bossman’s many interests: 3D printing.

This technology has been around for a while – mostly used by designers and engineers to conceptualize and test prototypes. But, as 3D printers become cheaper and more sophisticated, might it begin to revolutionize not only the world of retail but also DIY? What are the opportunities and potential pitfalls for entrepreneurs? Lawyers like Alan Rothenbuecher are already advising firms on how to handle the growing number of IP issues that crop up in relation to 3D printing.

TMBA also talks to one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay, Tobias Andersson, about why he thinks 3D printing is going to have the same impact on design as file-sharing sites have had on the music business.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why Ian decided to buy a 3D printer. (2:32)
  • What kind of impact 3D printing may have on the future of commerce. (4:30)
  • Ways that small businesses can protect their intellectual property with the rise of 3D printing. (10:25)
  • Why traditional contractual agreements are still going to be an important part of 3D printing manufacturing. (17:02)
  • How bigger businesses are starting to prepare for this technology. (20:02)

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Dan & Ian

Published on 12.10.15
  • Eric Haddad

    Dan, Ian,

    Thanks for bringing this topic to the podcast. I’m a product development and 3D printing nerd! I’ve actually been freelancing in this space since 2012 on the side of my “day job” as a product development engineer but I am going full-time location independent at the end of the month. I’m focusing on building my marketing platform and will have it fully up by mid-Jan. From a product development perspective, I’m noticing a gap that is developing in the marketplace: traditional prototyping service bureaus are very expensive but the new wave of 3D printing services (like is a little bit of a crap-shoot in terms of the quality of service and parts one will receive since the service providers are largely from the hobbyist crowd. Plus the service providers aren’t necessarily experts in CAD or design for manufacturing. With desktop 3D printing making some major strides the quality of parts that are coming off these printers is getting to the point where they are comparable to industrial 3D printers. I think it’s perfectly viable for a product development expert to build a small business with majorly reduced overhead, reduced capital tied up in machines, and reduced material costs to ultimately help the little guy bring his product idea to fruition. Plus, I’ve been thinking a lot about a business model where, rather than just work for a project cost or at an hourly rate I look for certain opportunities to offer my services in return for a percentage of the sales of the product. Thoughts?

    Love the show, thanks for continually keeping our juices flowing.

    Eric Haddad

  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just want to shout out the quality jump the podcast has made since BKK. You guys are bringing NPR quality to the business podcast, and I think that’s going to help it reach a wider audience. The production level is sky high – more like Planet Money or 99% Invisible or Serial than…well, any other business podcast.

  • Ian

    Eric, I think you are right. There are certainly opportunities for you to take a piece of the sales if you’ve helped the customer develop the product. As you know, many times the customer has a good idea for the product but not such a good understanding of the manufacturing constraints. But since you do, that puts you in a good position to ultimately help them get that product to market. The hard part is positioning your services and helping them to understand that problem. It’s one I think most people only understand after going through it. So maybe the ideal customer is not a first time product to market customer but rather someone more experienced that understands this value.

  • Dan Schiermeyer

    Just wanted to say that I just started listening to the podcast a few weeks ago, and it has been great. I heard of it from the EcommerceFuel podcast which has been a great help to GoPro accessory that I just launched recently,, and the information from your podcast is just as helpful.

    I have been really into 3D printing for about a year, and I acquired a Makerbot at my last job prior to leaving. It was crazy how fast an idea could be turned into a physical product, just to show people what you were thinking. I also was able to put it use and save the company money in time & material, mostly time. I also just recently built my own printer, which has been a lot of fun, and nice to have for ideas.

    I just wanted to share information with people that are getting into having their own printer, and not having a CAD system. There is a new CAD that runs on a web browser, and stores all your work in the cloud called They have been in beta most of the year, but just recently came out of beta. Anyone can sign up, there is a free, limited version. Works very well, and all of my experience has been with actual CAD programs such as NX & Solidworks. Onshape is nice because it allows me to do stuff on my Macbook, in google chrome, but then I can show people designs on my iPhone or iPad. You can import and export files as well from other CAD systems, or for printer. Let me know what you guys think about it.

    Glad I found your show, can’t wait to continue listening.

    Dan Schiermeyer

  • thanks Dan really appreciate it!

  • thank you Nate I appreciate that means a lot to us that you still listening! :D

  • Eric Leclair

    3d printing is great but only commercial side is kicking butt. The consumer site is pretty . . . well almost dead. With almost being closed, that was a big sign to the fans and foes alike. Love the technology myself but we are at least a decade away from any of this stuff gets mainstream. However, let’s keep at it shall we :)

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