3d Printing to a Vending Machine
Will everyone have a personal 3d printer in their home, or will they use service centers? Dreambox envisions people queuing prints to a local vending machine. You’d upload the design to the website or pick from a marketplace. Then your print would be queued to a local Dreambox machine. The service sends a text message when printing has completed, and you pick up your 3d print from the machine. The machines could be at Home Depots, inside an office supply store, or wherever else wants to provide the service to their customers.
The beta design has a few flaws at the moment. What if the prints are fragile? They could be injured by the mechanical arm that pushes them off, or by the fall into the collection bin. They’ll have to track filament usage and replace it by hand, which might make these machines less cost effective. 3d printers require quite a bit of maintenance, and that will have to be rolled into the pricing for customers. When printers become a little more reliable, the Dreambox might be very useful for people who want a 3d printed product fast without having to deal with actual 3d printing.
Dreambox is just in prototype stage, but it shows one possible version of how 3d printing might carve out a place in our lives. Hyperlocal service centers instead of larger factories could be the answer to long lead times. We could see these machines being deployed in engineering schools.