What if 3D-printed objects could be used to test demand?

figulobowl2A Boston company sent over a product sample recently that really knocked my socks off: a beautiful blue ceramic bowl. It was the sort of thing you might see on the shelves of a high-end home goods retailer like Design Within Reach.

But it had come out of a 3D printer.

Andy Jeffery, founder of the company that sent it over, Figulo, explained that he uses a ZPrinter from 3DSystems to produce the “green” ceramic object using a special  powder that gets deposited in layers, which takes about two hours. Then, it gets fired in a kiln, glazed, and fired again. He says the cost to produce the bowl he sent, ready for shipping, is about $55. It retails for around $200.

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