Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Amazon Will Seize 3D Printing (AMZN)

Mr. Bezos has a personal investment through his Bezos Expeditions in lower-end 3D printer co., MakerBot, who may or may not be acquired by Stratasys this week.

From the Harvard Political Review, August 1, 2012:      

3D printing is going to revolutionize online shopping. Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos realizes that and probably envisions Amazon orchestrating the revolution. As a testament to how seriously Bezos takes 3D printing, Bezos, along with two other venture capital groups, helped MakerBot, a seller of consumer 3D printers and the accompanying necessary materials, raise $10 million....

...But there are several ways Bezos and his company can anticipate and lead the change in 3D printing.
The first step would probably be to buy up companies such as Shapeways which are already allowing users to upload designs and customers to then print these designs. Amazon can also create in-house 3D printing and tools on its site to embellish conventional products using its in-house 3D printing.  It is unlikely that most adults will have the necessary skills, the time, and interest to design complex products. Amazon can offer the easy alternative: offer customizable products. By acquiring companies and hiring in-house designers, Amazon can head off the inevitable diversity of suppliers and instead establish itself as a marketplace for different users to upload their designs, as Shapeways already does.

So my advice: buy stock in Amazon.  Not only did its CEO redefine the book industry; he is also heavily involved in the privatized space industry.  When it comes to 3D printing, which has been hailed the next trillion dollar industry, I would not be surprised if Bezos has already pounced....MORE
This story came up because Amazon has started offering "3D printers and supplies".
From Engineering.com:

Amazon Expands Into Additive Manufacturing 
While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may believe that 3D printing is still a long way from changing the way industry makes and distributes products, his online marketplace isn’t shying away from the opportunity to sell the revolutionary technology. 

In a recent addition to its website, Amazon has decided to add a new section to it’s “Industrial & Scientific” market category – “3D Printers & Supplies”.

A quick look around the section gave me the impression that Amazon is still catering to the Maker segment of the 3D Printing community. Among the products available are the MakerBot Replicator2, the LulzBot AO-101, the Airwolf3D and a number of other models.

In addition to printers Amazon is offering a vast selection of both ABS and PLA filament, inspection and repair tools as well as enough parts to design and build your own 3D printer. If you’re in need of a CAD solution, Amazon is also offering a number of software packages....MORE

While Mr. Bezos is downplaying the immediacy of the 3D market (see Jeff Bezos on 3D Printing) it might pay to remember that while Bezos is personally invested in a small way in Rethink Robotics Inc. his company went out and did the largest robot co. acquisition that I know of, $775 million for Kiva Systems.