Adult industry seeks profit in 3D printing
In the I knew this was bound to happen department it seems that the growing popularity of 3D printing has made it into the adult sex toys business thanks to Tom Nardone of MakerLove in an effort to be in the highly coveted first to market percentile.
I have been a proponent of 3D printing since its first mention in tech blogs and have said on more than one occasion that the popularization of 3D printing will bring about a fundamental change in our society, but when I said that I definitely wasn't thinking in the same direction as Tom Nardone of MakerLove.
The engineer turned sex toy salesman is just about making any old type of sex toys either. For him his 3D printed sex toys is a combination art and science along with technology and pleasure.
As anyone who has been involved with technology for a long time will tell you, sex has been a major influence in the popularization of technology most notably with the popularity of VCRs (and online porn), so it should come as no surprise that someone would see what a 3D printer can do and immediately start thing about things like sex toys.
However Nardone will be the first to tell you that it is still early days with things like 3D printed sex toys, mostly due to the materials currently used in the process of printing something out as well as the difficulty in getting a smooth finished product.
There are technical hurdles, too. Right, now most 3D printers print objects at resolutions far too rough to be used comfortably in intimate areas. “There’s a bit of a texture to them,” MakerLove’s Nardone confesses.
Also, sex toys printed from material known as polyvinyl alcohol are water-soluble, which automatically rules them out for use with any water-based lubricant. While the solution to that is simply to print other materials that still doesn’t solve the whole texture issue.
Nardone, however, is largely unconcerned. “The resolution will improve with time. 3D printing is just like any other technology,” he said.
Some of the more popular and affordable 3D printers are the MakerBot line of 3D printers. In its second revision, the MakerBot Replicator 2 boasts not only a default layer height of 100 microns, but also ease of use. The Replicator 2 is driven by a desktop application called MakerWare, and third party extensions such as CAD files may also be used as an input. Affordable as it may be, the Replicator 2 runs for a cool $2,199.00.