Domestic 3D printing will revolutionise the way that products reach their end users. The tools of manufacture have been democratised and as Karl Marx observed, power belongs to those who control the means of production. This movement from passive to active consumerism has the power to
fundamentally change professional designers’ practice by altering how they profit from their work. This paper intends to investigate the domestic 3D printing revolution and propose business plans for designers to profit from their work in this evolving market.
What started as a hobbyists movement is now maturing into a viable production technology. Digital design needs to be embraced by industry as part of business practice. The fundamental problem with distributing digital media is that files can be endlessly duplicated and re-distributed by consumers, leading to piracy and value liquidation.
As an Industrial Designer I am concerned about the consequences of this movement and the lack of
interest in taking measures to embrace it for the good of both consumers and designers.
This paper plans to propose such business plans by critically analysing the mistakes made by the music industry during its own digital revolution in the 90’s. Key commentators Michael Weinberg and Chris Anderson both articulate the importance of using the music industry as a case study.
By using the digital music revolution to demonstrate how the digital design revolution could be devastated by piracy, it was realised how little research has taken place into the business opportunities domestic 3D printing represents rather than threatens. The paper concludes with proposals of business models which are designed to embrace the movement.