Here at caseable, we are always thinking about “mass customization,”– how users can modify products to make them unique and personal. For those of you who are interested in creating your own laptop sleeves, caseable provides the platform for you to do just that. For other types of custom designs, a method that is becoming increasingly popular is rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping is basically a way that designers and, in the not-so-distant future, consumers can create 3-dimensional objects just by using a computer. The process is usually that a designer will create a digital design in a CAD software, or something as simple as Adobe Illustrator, and then send the file to a machine to be created in 3D. Some common rapid prototyping machines are laser-cutters, which cut precisely through sheets of material, and 3D printers, that layer lots of coats of a material, usually a sort of plastic mixture, to build up a 3D object. However, there is a whole slew of highly creative types of prototyping machines, using a broad range of materials! Some RP machines, even years ago, were making objects in funky materials like sugar.
I actually saw a fantastic exhibition in Barcelona this summer on rapid prototyping in design, with examples of materials even crazier than sugar being used to create innovative and beautiful forms. I encourage our readers to stop by the Disseny Hub and check out the Fabrication Laboratory if you are in Barcelona and want to see RP-ing being used in the most imaginative ways.
Rapid prototyping machines are becoming more common, and in some cases, can be built on your own very inexpensively. So keep an eye out for rapid prototyping as a means of mass customization for consumers. Who knows, eventually the glasses you used to read this article, the mouse you used to click on our blog, or the computer on which you view this blog, could be made in your very own home using rapid prototyping technology.
Also, if you feel so inclined, check out my own silly project that I did using Processing (a simple computer program used to create, well, simple computer programs) and a laser cutter.