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Ottawa Star • November 7, 2013

3D printing offers customized, one-of-kind objects By LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press


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ONTREAL—3D printing isn’t making waves in the world of mass production but it’s starting to change how businesses can offer customized, one-of-kind objects often in a matter of days. The technology, for example, is changing the jewelry industry to the point that there’s no need to build up a large inventory of rings, necklaces and earrings that might appeal to consumers. “Any time a customer orders a ring, we’re going to print out a correctly sized version of exactly what they ordered and get it made in two or three days,’’ Tony Davis, CEO of the online site Jewlr said from Toronto. Davis said 3D printing turns out a wax prototype of a ring, for example, and then it’s cast into gold, silver or another metal and customized at factories in the Toronto area or Los Angeles. 3D printing also is being used to design and make everything from tools and toothbrushes to plastic toys and figurines, furniture and dishes and even food and guns. Objects are built layer by layer from a 3D design with materials such as plastic, ceramics, glass, metal, powders and pastes. It’s being used in the medical field, too, to make prosthetic limbs and hearings aids and scientists are reprinting human tissue for research into organ regeneration and transplant.

3d printer in action Subhashish Panigrahi

3D printers for consumers are coming down in price, depending on the model and capabilities. A campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter raised more than $650,000 for the so-called Peachy Printer—a $100 3D printer. Higher-end units cost thousands. 3D printing company Magic Maker uses 3D printers and scanners to make objects ranging from Lego blocks to snow globes to customized toys, as well as producing 3D prototypes for engineers. Tech analyst Duncan Stewart said he isn’t convinced that 3D printing is going to be popular with consumers. “The problem is for almost virtually anything you could make with a 3D printer, it is faster and cheaper and easier to walk three blocks to the hardware store.’’

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“It’s one thing if you don’t understand. But don’t ever tell me it doesn’t happen to me,” said Natasha Eubanks, owner of the celebrity website , who shops often at high-end stores in New York City. “You can’t assume it doesn’t happen just because it doesn’t happen to you.” Sometimes, Eubanks said, it takes clerks more than five minutes to simply acknowledge her presence. Or they brush her off after a token greeting. Or they ask her question after question: “You’re a black girl up in Chanel. They want to know what you’re doing here, and what you do for a living.” Trayvon Christian’s problem was not how he was treated when he went into Barneys New York – it was what happened afterward. In a lawsuit filed last week, the 19-year-old said that he bought a Ferragamo belt at the Manhattan store, and when he left he was accosted by undercover city police officers. According to the lawsuit, police said Christian “could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.” He was arrested and detained, though he showed police the receipt, the debit card he used and identification, the lawsuit said. After Christian’s lawsuit was filed, another black Barneys shopper said she was accused of fraud after purchasing a $2,500 handbag, and the black actor Robert Brown said he was

paraded through Macy’s in handcuffs and detained for an hour after being falsely accused of credit card fraud. Many people justify racial profiling by saying that black customers are more likely to steal. But one study has shown that white women in their 40s engaged in more shoplifting than other demographic groups, said Jerome Williams, a business professor at Rutgers University who has studied marketplace discrimination. “The reason they don’t show up in crime statistics is because people aren’t watching them,” said Williams. Statistics showing that black customers steal more “are not really an indication of who’s shoplifting,” he said. “It’s a reflection of who’s getting caught. That’s a reflection of who’s getting watched. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Dido Kanyandekwe knows he is being watched. “But I joke with them; I see them looking at me and I say, ‘Hello, I see you!’ And I wave,” said the 18-year-old college student in New York City, who was in Barneys on Monday buying a $600-plus pair of Italian designer sneakers. “Most black people don’t have the money to buy stuff at Barneys,” said Kanyandekwe, the son of wealthy parents, before paying for the black leather shoes with a credit card. “But that does not mean all black people are not able to buy these things.”

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Ottawa Star - Volume 1 Issue 10  

Ottawa Star - Volume 1 Issue 10