Dezeen Magazine

Janne Kyttanen

Printing products at home is "cheaper than shopping"

News: consumers can save money by printing products at home rather than shopping for them, according to Janne Kyttanen, co-founder of design studio Freedom of Creation and creative director of 3D printer company 3D Systems (+ interview).

Cube 3D printer

Kyttanen said 3D printers are now so affordable that you they can print "normal household products" more cheaply than you can buy them. "This iPod Nano holder for example costs two Euros to make," he adds, holding a plastic strap, which was printed in a just over an hour on 3D Systems' new Cube printer (above). "So why go buy something when you could just make your own things?”

Cube 3D printer

Freedom of Creation was one of the first design studios to experiment with 3D printing, presenting a series of printed lights in Milan in 2003. Last year the Amsterdam-based studio was bought by 3D Systems and Kyttanen became creative director of the South Carolina company in the process.

Cube 3D printer creations

Earlier this year, Kyttanen oversaw the launch of Cube, a £1,199 extrusion printer aimed at the domestic market. "It’s an entry-level machine for anybody to buy for the home," said Kyttanen.

Kyttanen spoke to Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs at the 3D Printshow in London about the way the 3D printing landscape has changed over the last decade. For more from the show, see our interview with MakerBot CEO and co-founder Bre Pettis.

All our stories about 3D printing | All our stories about Freedom of Creation

Here's an edited transcript of the interview with Kyttanen:

Marcus Fairs: “We first met in Milan nine years ago, at the first Freedom of Creation show.”

Janne Kyttanen: “Nine years ago, yeah.”

Marcus Fairs: “That was the first time I’d seen objects that had any design sensibility that had been made using 3D printing techniques. Tell us about that adventure and what’s happened to you and what’s happened to 3D printing in the last nine years.”

Janne Kyttanen: “When I started everything was very, very expensive so it was very difficult to get the whole thing going. My dream was always to start an industry instead of designing individual products. So I think the first five, six, seven years were extremely difficult both financially and in terms of having people believe in the vision. Only in the last three years things have exponentially started moving forward to an industry that I always envisioned. And especially the last year. It’s going great.”

Marcus Fairs: “And why has it suddenly taken off in the last two or three years?”

Janne Kyttanen: “There’s some [3D printing] patents that have run out and of course there's now massive awareness towards the whole story; and to be honest the pricing. You can [print] normal household products, like this iPod Nano holder for example, which costs two Euros to make. So why go buy something when you could just make your own things?”

Marcus Fairs: “You mentioned patents expiring. So companies that had the patents for these manufacturing technologies were preventing it from being widely taken up?”

Janne Kyttanen: “That happens in any technology. Once restrictions are removed, the bigger crowd starts to flourish.”

Marcus Fairs: “Freedom Of Creation is now owned by 3D Systems. Tell us about that merger, that takeover, and tell us about the company you now work for.”

Janne Kyttanen: “That happened about a year and a half ago. We've been talking for a number of years about how I always envisioned that the consumer world would be the final frontier for this type of adventure. They had something that I needed: technology, software, finance and a whole bunch of people running in the same direction. I had of course 12 years of valuable content that we can just quickly get going, instead of them getting other designers or buying somewhere else to get it going. So it was for me a match made in heaven.”

Marcus Fairs: “And they’re a company that makes 3D printing machines?”

Janne Kyttanen: “Yeah. 3D Systems originally started 25 years ago, so it actually invented the whole technology and the whole industry. [3D Systems co-founder] Chuck Hull invented stereolithography [in 1986]. But we have pretty much all the print platforms: stereolithography, selective laser sintering and so on. And the latest venture is on a bigger scale: we're entering the consumer market with the Cube."

Marcus Fairs: “And the Cube is what?”

Janne Kyttanen: “It's an extrusion machine that has a heated nozzle that makes things in 3D. It’s very very simple.”

Marcus Fairs: “And this is aimed at the consumer market?”

Janne Kyttanen: “Yeah, yeah. It's £1,199. So it’s an entry-level machine for anybody to buy for the home.”

Marcus Fairs: “So this is not aimed at designers to prototype products with; it's aimed families to have fun with?”

Janne Kyttanen: “Yeah I mean we have a slogan called 'it’s for kids from eight to eighty'. So anybody can use it.”

Marcus Fairs: “And where is this kind of technology taking manufacturing, taking the design world? There’s been a lot of people saying ‘Oh it’s the end of the big manufacturing cycle of, you know, big mega-brands and mega-corporations’, but is it? Or is it just a bit of fun?”

Janne Kyttanen: “Wasn’t the web going to be the killer for paper? And so forth. So I don’t think anything will replace anything, it’s just that a massive 3D manufacturing industry will also grow I believe. These are just some new technologies, just a new thing.”