Tag Archives: 3D printer

Mini-me, 3D printer, and handmade effect

I once believed mini-mes are expensive because they are produced by cutting edge 3D printers, which differ from my 3D printer or a mere 3D food printer. A news article elaborates that human miniatures are not cheap.

Pinla3D scans its customers in-store and then gives them a choice of 3D model sizes. A 25cm (9.8-inch) figure costs RMB 3,580 (US$580), according to the store’s site. Three generations of one family can be immortalized in plastic at 1:9 scale for RMB 8,997 (US$1,470). That’s cheaper than we’ve seen it done by a Japanese startup site – with the added bonus that going in-person to the store will make the mini-me more accurate than submitting a bunch of photos to a website.

However, my belief was corrected when I visited Tianzifang in Shanghai, China. A series of mini-mes displayed outside a store cost only RMB 480 (US$ 68). I wondered how and why they are inexpensive.

The mystery was solved when I entered the store. These mini-mes were not produced by 3D printers. Instead, two people made mini-mes out of clay.

We tend to assign greater value to a product when it is made by human than when made by machine. It is called as “handmade effect.” Then, why did I observe a reverse handmade effect, that it, hand-crafted mini-mes are cheaper than the ones printed by 3D printers? I suspect the handmade effect is observed only when the people who make a product is clearly associated with the final product. If the association is not established so that buyers do not know who produce their purchased products, handmade effect disappears and buyers are not willing to pay more. If I come back to Shanghai, I suggest two mini-me makers to give their own name cards and personal stories to buyers!

Fuchs, C., Schreier, M., & van Osselaer, S. M. J. (2015). The Handmade Effect: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Journal of Marketing, 79(2), 98–110.

Despite the popularity and high quality of machine-made products, handmade products have not disappeared, even in product categories in which machinal production is common. The authors present the first systematic set of studies exploring whether and how stated production mode (handmade vs. machine-made) affects product attractiveness. Four studies provide evidence for the existence of a positive handmade effect on product attractiveness. This effect is, to an important extent, driven by perceptions that handmade products symbolically “contain love.” The authors validate this love account by controlling for alternative value drivers of handmade production (effort, product quality, uniqueness, authenticity, and pride). The handmade effect is moderated by two factors that affect the value of love. Specifically, consumers indicate stronger purchase intentions for handmade than machine-made products when buying gifts for their loved ones but not for more distant gift recipients, and they pay more for handmade gifts when purchased to convey love than simply to acquire the best-performing product.

3D food printers change brand image

I followed map in Prague, Czech Republic. I crossed a bridge (Legions’ Bridge), climbed up a tower (Petrin Tower), and drank beer at a local brewery (Strahov Monastery Brewery). However, I went to one place most tourists are not interested in. I visited a design exhibition held at a convention center (Výstaviště Praha Holešovice).



Professional designers opened their booths and invited visitors in the convention center. I listened to presentations, tested products, talked to designers, and bought a few items.



At one corner, I met 3D printers printing out chocolates. Although media says 3D food printers will change what we eat and I myself play with a 3D printer, this was the first time to see that food was actually printed out.





Afterwards, I became curious about this product and googled “Love Magenta.” I expected to find a person who loves the purplish red color and sell 3D food printers. Surprisingly, Love Magenta is the online store of the Deutsche TelekomThe website of “Love Magenta” says:


Magenta – so much more than just Deutsche Telekom’s corporate color, the most important element of our corporate identity.

But Magenta means even more to us: It represents our attitude towards life. Our employees show their pride in our brand with our everyday products. We showcase our favorite color perfectly in our online shop: sometimes bold, sometimes understated – but always stylish and up to date.

The shop offers a constantly changing range of high-quality products, including fashion, accessories, and gadgets. What these items have in common is the color Magenta, of course – and the love and attention dedicated to each detail. All products are designed and produced exclusively for our shop. This ensures the highest possible quality, and gives our designers complete freedom to create truly unique items. It’s never been easier for our employees and customers to express their love for Magenta in so much style.

Take a look – we’re sure you’ll find something you like.


Color is an effective marketing tool and some colors are stylish. Silver Bang & Olufsen speakers and white Balmuda toasters are eye catching. However, most success cases come from product manufacturers. How can service companies link themselves with stylish colors when they have no tangible, visible products? Deutsche Telekom gave an answer; Really New Products (RNPs) such as 3D food printers help service companies link their colors and styles. In the near future, other Really New Products such as wearable devices, voice recognition devices, or drones will be effective marketing tools for service companies to promote their own colors in stylish ways.



Hands-on experience of 3D printing

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Probably, I am one of few marketing people in the world who buy and use a 3D printer. I paid about $1000 and bought a printer called Rappy 32 from Stellamove two months ago and have been printing miniature buildings, animals, and mobile phone cases for fun. I want to share what I have learned about 3D printers with designers and marketers, in particular, those who are interested in but have never used them.

First of all, playing with a 3D printer woke up my “creator instinct.” Previously, I was a consumer; I simply purchased and used the products someone else created for anonymous people. After having a countless consumption experiences in my life, I came to unconsciously calculate the cost and benefit of a specific purchase behavior or habitually compared between one option and another. However, when I printed something using the 3D printer, I had a fairly different type of experience; I chose what to create and then waited until it was done. While waiting, my mental calculator did not turn on but I was overwhelmed by (some kinds of) mother-specific emotions such as wish, excitement, warm caring, and disappointment. In my opinion, printing something using 3D printers is easier and more entertaining than other professional creating tasks such as drawing and cook because it simply requires me to plan what to print at first and then fully takes care of the remaining procedures.

Second, playing with a 3D printer taught me that saying is one thing, doing is another. Many people talked about 3D printers without having any hands-on experience. Some are excited about the bright future they unfold; they can decorate cakes or replace the knobs and hooks printed at home. Others are concerned about the gloomy future 3D printers bring; someone else will print out and carry weapons or generate fake coins. However, my experience taught me that the future is not around the corner regardless of whether it is bright or dark. There are literally hundreds of issues that need to be addressed for a 3D-printer to work properly. I myself often dissatisfied with the print quality. I might have developed my taste of finishing too high (e.g., iPhones or Lego bricks).

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RAPY, a DC motor 3D printer

DML_3D printerEveryone has dreams but only few pursue them. I love the anecdote of the inventors of the world’s first DC motor 3D printer, RAPY (Rapid Advanced Printing sYstem). I decide to support it at the Kickstarter. I learn how to use this machine now and hope to “play” with it soon. The following is what RAPY is about on the Kickstarter.

… The story goes back to twenty years ago.

In 1993, we were students in an engineering school and obsessed in robots. We organized a group of robot builders. We studied hard and enjoyed school life including group activities. After graduation we were all scattered in diverse areas and experienced how big industries run from products and service planning to launch and after service. After decades of practical experience in industries, we realized that we might build our own 3D printer by ourselves with expertise in control. Decades of industrial experience definitely helped a lot in designing, developing and planning for a production. Robots can be defined as a machine to perform pre-programmed activity and adjust its action in accordance with environmental change. By this sense, RAPY system is a robot. Now we are stepping our first foot in making robots. With our system we continue to push our limits to bring more sophisticated system within our lives.

With the help of position feedback control system, RAPY has an ability of disturbance rejection, which means it can resists against not only external shock but also internal mis-tracking caused by build up errors. 3D printers operate not only for a couple of minutes but for several hours to print out a single object.  As a result your printer may run dozens of hundreds of hours in total to meet your need. The situation is quite different from that of using 2D printers. This is why 3D printers need a rigid structure for its stability against long run.