American retailer giant Lowe’s is offering something new to its Chelsea store customers – customized 3D printing. The flagship store in Manhattan is now offering bespoke 3D printed designs for customers’ own furnishings.
This isn’t Lowe’s first foray into the world of 3D printing. Last year they launched Lowe’s Innovation Labs, bringing 3D printing to their Orchard Supply Hardware store in Mountain View, California, and they even have a commercial printer aboard the ISS. Now they are taking the technology one step further for their consumers, not only allowing customers to print replacement parts and decor products, but also design their own furnishings and customize designs already available on their website.
Digital Forming, a supplier of mass customization services are enabling Lowe’s Companies, Inc. customers to create personal living spaces using the Digital Forming mass customization platform. Lowe’s Innovation Labs has introduced a 3D scanning and printing service available online and in one store to enable customers to preserve priceless family heirlooms, create hard to find replacement parts, and personalize storage, organization and decorative items.
What can be customized?
Exploring the website, I came across a cabinet handle. ‘What can really be done with a handle’ I thought to myself. A lot, as it turns out. The options to customize included shape, symbol or monogram selection, inner finish color and outer finish color. And that’s just for a door handle. Other furnishings include picture frames, salt and pepper shakers, vases and more. You can choose colors, materials, size and truly make your item unique. The items are designed mostly by 3DShook, who were very excited by the partnership with Lowe’s.
“We’re proud to have been selected by Lowe’s for the content part of this project. 3DShook works hard to stand out in design standards for 3D printing and it was exciting to be part of such an important evolution of our industry. It was challenging to design products that would not only look great 3D printed on consumer grade printers, but also be sold to customers who don’t necessarily care how they were made, and rather expect a functioning product that does what it was meant to,” Hector Berrebi, COO and founder of 3DShook, said. His team “designed well over 100 parts for this collection (if you count all letter sets and hangers which were quite a bigger challenge than they seem), under much stricter guidelines since they are sold to public who expects a full functioning product from Lowe’s.”
What else can be printed?
Consumers are also able to take advantage of 3D scanning services at the flagship store in Chelsea, New York. They are able to reproduce items such as antiques, or other items that cannot be easily found again. After scanning, a technician will be on hand to help create a 3D file. The consumer can then upload the design onto their Bespok3Designs account which will then be printed and shipped to them by either Voodoo Manufacturing or ExOne.
“Enabling self-expression, leads to a deeper and more intimate connection with brands, which is the basis for emotional branding,” said David Akka, CEO at Digital Forming. “We are proud to provide solutions that support co-designing of products, encouraging more brand engagement and providing the basis for lasting customer loyalty.”
Consumers are being exposed to 3D printing on a much larger scale when retailers like Lowe’s get involved. It is especially a good move by Lowe’s in an ever changing consumer market. More and more people are creating their own products, and by facilitating this, Lowe’s are keeping up with the changing marketplace.