We met first met Cincinnati-based 3DLT last year when they announced their 3D printing marketplace at Disrupt. The team is back in the news thanks to a new effort by Amazon to add printed items to their already massive selection of goods.
Right now things are in the experimental stages, but I sent CEO John J. Hauer, Jr. a few questions and he gave us a bit of clarification as to what it means for Amazon to open up the 3D printed floodgates.
TC: How did you approach Amazon to sell these items?
Hauer: We attempted to set up a store and sell 3D printed products. They contacted us to tell us they didn’t have a 3D printed product category. We asked if they would create one. They told us they were considering a pilot and later asked us to join.
TC: How did you choose what to sell?
Hauer: Amazon asked us to supply products in 4 categories – jewelry, home decor, toys, and fashion accessories (including tech accessories).
TC: Are you actually printing on demand? Are you holding inventory?
Hauer: Right now we are printing on demand. Once they get a feel for volume, they may ask us to print inventory and ship to their warehouse. This might allow them to make those products Prime eligible.
TC: What are you printing on?
Hauer: The products are being laser sintered in nylon plastic via our service bureau partner.
TC: What’s the future for Amazon and 3DLT? Will you allow Amazon users to upload models?
Hauer: We will be testing for the next few months, based on demand we may expand the scope of the pilot. We don’t plan to have Amazon users upload models initially, but it is an interesting concept.
TC: To be clear, it’s a bit disingenuous to say Amazon is working with you guys. I could probably do this in my basement and just set up an Amazon sellers account. How is this different?
Hauer: This is a closed pilot. We are one of only five partners participating and were selected by Amazon.