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3d Printing and the Importance of Personalization

Celtic3d 3d Customizers

Customization: the future for 3d printing

Here at Celtic3d, we believe one of the main benefits of 3d Printing is the ability to customize and personalize products and have them made to-order.  The reason we don’t all do this already is that editing 3d models is not easy.  Although the editing software is getting better and more accessible, creating your own models remains daunting for most folks.

Current capability

Earlier in the year, we became frustrated by the lack of flexible ways for customers to personalize our designs.  While many of our designs take advantage of what customization and personalization ability there is,  there are significant limitations.   You can add your initials or superimpose your logo onto a model.   However, you can’t add curved text, more than one text area, or combine shapes together using generally available solutions.   There are some solutions out there, but these are expensive and aimed at large corporate markets.  We wanted to go further with our customization options, but were not able to find a ready-made solution.    So, we went about building our own.

Celtic3d Ltd Scroll shapeCeltic3d Customizer

We are pleased to announce that our first product “Customizer” is now live.   This is an early version and there is a long list of ideas in our development pipeline.  However, the basic structure is built and in-place.  You can find it under Shop/3d Model Files.

How it works

The customizer comes in two parts.

  1. First a web service that processes requests for customizations and outputs new model files. We built the web service separately so that it could easily scale-up and could service a number of different front-end apps sending requests to it.  We are using Blender and open-source Python libraries  to do the model manipulation.
  2. Secondly, a plug-in for our WordPress / WooCommerce site that can preview models in a viewer (using the excellent Three.js javascript library), take user input and allow customers to purchase items as downloadable model files, or as products that we manufacture through our partners.

From a customer’s perspective, it is critical we keep things as simple and intuitive as possible.  For that reason, we have gone for a simple web-form interface.  We have also adjusted the menu structure for the site so that you can easily find your customized designs on your next visit.

Next steps

We have launched a basic set of scroll shapes where you can add your own text and purchase and download the model file.  A modest start, but useful to us for gathering information about the performance of the system as we prepare the next steps.   The next step being to hook up the software with the backend manufacturing partners so that we can offer physical products for sale.

We are really excited about the possibilities this opens up for customizing products in new and unique ways.

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