How 3D printing can be used for your next craft fair

When you think of a craft fair or a trade show, typically the merchandise which is offered is considered to be hand-made. Perhaps the craft is that of wood or fabric. Whatever the material, the attraction to the craft fair is that a person can find something unique. Yet, from my experience, the crafts and the fairs have come to a standstill in terms of new content. I know exactly what booths are going to be up and what is going to be offered. And while there is a level of comfort in certain events and crafts being available at certain times and places, there is nothing unique. However, there is the potential for a new crafting genre to make its way onto the scene. 3D printing and on the spot products could revolutionize the way in which people do crafts.

Technology meets trade

3D printers are quite affordable now days, ranging from $300 up to the thousands depending on the needs of the person purchasing the product. The sizes vary, but most of the printers are mobile enough and easy enough to set up that they would not be a burden for the hobbyist or the crafter. What is new about the 3D printing, in terms of commerce and crafting is that your craft is presented as being modern, even if you are building upon technology that is a hundred years old. Add to this the actual printing process (which can be watched by your customers) and you have a unique and modern twist to the traditional.

3D printing

There are many ways in which you and a 3D printer can integrate the technology into your trade event. Depending upon the printer that you purchase, there may be the option of allowing a customer to watch the printing process from his or her phone. However, as you showcase your technology, ensure that your craft is kept in the spotlight as well. The point of 3D printing and crafting is to draw the interest of a newer market, not to replace your craft with new technology.

3D printing lowers crafting costs

Crafting can be an expensive way in which to earn money, especially if you have a craft where the merchandise can be broken. The 3D printer allows you to print the product on site. This reduces the likelihood of loss from transporting the product, allows for better regulation of the product once you are at the craft fair or event (as someone cannot break what is not yet been printed), and allows for you to be in control of production (which takes out the cost of purchasing products through another retailer so that you can make your craft).

Why is technology integration important for Crafting?

As technology becomes more and more dominant in our society, especially where mobile and social media are concerned, the more traditional trades and crafts are being pushed to the side as being archaic. Granted, there is a market for those which seek out the traditional ways of doing things and there are craters who are dedicated to a specific way in which they form their craft. Yet, even these select few sectors are dwindling as more people lean their interests to newer technologies.

3D printing allows for the traditional crafting and the new technology to be implemented together. You can, for example, have a doll house that you built by hand. The original can be offered at a higher price, but then you can have a 3D model of the house ready to print on the 3D printer as a miniature. Additionally, if you wanted to sell a do-it-yourself kit, you need only to have the specifications saved for the 3D printer and the parts can be printed out (making you totally in control of the manufacturing and reducing the time it takes to craft those kits by hand).

Simply put, technology and tradition must be merged together in order to spark the interests of younger people. There needs to be something that draws in the person who has become over familiarized with technology. By using a 3D printer, the technology is present. At the same time there is enough of the crafting that takes place where the tradition is not neglected. Here are a few areas where a 3D printer could benefit a craft:

  • Personalized Names and engravings
  • Miniatures (don’t have to worry about breakage as you can print it out there)
  • Comic book convention weapons and costumes
  • Print out your craft tools if one gets broken
  • Supportive materials (such as unique frames for your photography)
  • Antique Replicas of classic cars

There is really no limit to what you can think of and do. Yes, there are limitations to the machine, but these limitations are far less than you would imagine.


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