Amazon selling customizable, 3D-printed products

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Rugged Fairing individually designed, and created using 3D printing. Courtesy of Bespoke.

Officially open for business on Monday, the new 3D Printing Store sells more than 200 on-demand, 3D-printed products. Customers choose a specific product, such as jewelry, home items, toys, games, electronic accessories, and mobile phone cases. As the products are printed on the fly, the customer essentially become the designer as well.

Using design templates, buyers create their items, such as pendants, earrings, and necklaces. The products can be customized by material, size, style, and color, and further personalized with text and images. After putting a personal touch on a product, customers can preview it in 3D and rotate the preview to see the item at all angles.

3D printing has taken off by expanding the types of objects that can be printed, including earbuds, chess sets, and ping pong balls. Beyond nicknacks, 3D printing has found a medical niche, including helping surgeons successfully remove a young boy's tumor by first creating a 3D-printed replica of that tumor.

3D printers can be purchased, but the market is still nascent. Amazon's new store brings 3D printing closer to consumers without requiring the money or knowledge to do it themselves.

"The personalization widget empowers customers to make something unique in seconds without knowing how to 3D model," Nancy Liang, co-founder for Mixee Labs, a company that lets designers create customizable products and sell them online, said in a statement. "A product personalization platform on Amazon has the potential to become the app store for the physical world. Customization gives customers the power to remix their world, and we want to change the way people shop online."

Consumers can check out Amazon's 3D product site by browsing categories or by searching for a specific item. After a product is chosen and customized, it is 3D printed on demand by one of Amazon's manufacturing partners and then shipped.

Sellers, designers, and manufacturers interested in the new store can contact Amazon about offering their own 3D-printed products.

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