Amazon jumps into 3-D printing market with bobbleheads, more

From personalized miniature bobbleheads to flower vases, Amazon’s new 3-D printing marketplace plans to simplify the 3-D printing process for consumers.

The online retailer, which launched the marketplace Monday, offers users the ability to customize a number of objects including jewelry, bobbleheads and wax seals before having them 3-D printed and shipped out, just like any other Amazon transaction.

Making the customization aspect of the website more accessible to 3-D printing novices is important, Amazon Marketplace Sales Director Petra Schindler-Carter said, because it opens a new marketplace to more consumers.

“It’s an innovation that we’re excited to invest in,” she said.

3-D printers use a variety of materials to create objects including toys and casts for broken bones. The printers themselves often cost several hundreds of dollars, and usually require a rudimentary knowledge of technical programs like AutoCAD to begin building 3-D designs.

Amazon is offering more than 200 printable objects through the marketplace, with customizable features such as color, size, style and text additions. The objects will retail from $25 to $100.

The tech giant is partnering with 10 3-D printing companies that sell and create 3-D printing items and hopes to add more, Schindler-Carter said.

Expanding to a much larger customer base in Amazon isn’t a concern for partnering company Mixee Labs, co-founder Nancy Liang said. She said the company, which produces the customizable bobbleheads, was a great fit for Amazon.

“You can’t sell a personalized mini-bobblehead without a way of personalizing,” Liang wrote in an email. “It just so happens that Amazon was interested in launching a personalization widget on their product page, so it was perfect.”

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