How 3D Printing Will Change the Promotional Products Industry


3D Printed Customizable Box

3D printing is a fascinating technology and it’s changing the way things are manufactured through out many industries including the promotional products industry. 3D printing can be used to make novelty products such as promotional toys and custom promo gifts. It is also being used to make clothing, shoes, machine parts, containers, and even creative 3D printed food items. The medical industry has many uses for it as well.

3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing, meaning that the items it creates are made in a form of layers. This allows for intricate designs to be made quickly and cost effectively. It is much faster than molding or sculpting. The blueprints for the pieces to be printed are made digitally. The most common 3D printers use a spool of plastic that looks like string. The plastic is melted through the machine then deposited on to a plate where it begins to take shape layer by layer and eventually building a 3 dimensional object. Check out how explains 3D printing in the video below.


What 3D Printing Will Do For the Promotional Products Industry

Time: With 3D printing technology you will be able to have your custom printed promotional item in a flash. This new technology will cut time in more ways than one. There is less time in actually manufacturing the items and a faster turnaround from the manufacturer to your door.

Customized: In the advertising specialties industry it is all about customization. Imagine the types of promo gift ideas we’ll come up with using a 3D printer. Normally when you want a custom pieces they are manufactured overseas and require you to order a large quantity. With 3D printing the promotional products industry will have the ability to make custom pieces locally and at lower quantities.

Inventory: 3D printing will create a “made to order” system. Manufacturers will not have to stock items that can be 3D printed and there will never be any inventory issues.


3D Printed Custom Bottle Opener

There is still some time before 3D printers will be on our desktops but as the technology advances it will change the promotional products industry for good.

Have you ever heard of or seen a 3D printer? What other uses can you think of for 3D printers? What other ways do you think the 3D printer will change the promotional products industry?

64 thoughts on “How 3D Printing Will Change the Promotional Products Industry

  1. I’ve not heard of this until now (unless you count the printer that was used on The Big Bang Theory to print action figures of the characters), but I think it’s pretty fascinating that doctors have 3-D-printed organs! Wow!

    It seems as though there is no limit to what technology can do nowadays. Pretty impressive stuff!

    Oh, and the shoes look kind of neat, too. Amazing, really.
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…Self-Publishing is A LOT of WORK! (and I need a hug!)My Profile

  2. I love how you think Arleen. I have read about the 3D printers on quite a few occasions and marvelled at what they created, but I never took my thinking to the next level and thought, how can I use this to promote X? It is a very obvious use and I imagine we’ll start to see some fantastic promotional products come from this. The creative opportunity it represents means that you can create just about anything. Consider beautiful contemporary sculptures based on an organizational theme or more practical products, like the can opener using corporate colours… really it’s about the limits of our imagination.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Synchronicity, both beautiful and challengingMy Profile

  3. Absolutely, 3d-printing will definitely change the promotional products industry. Have watched my nerd friends at campus use 3d printing. The printers definitely need to be a bit more refined and also more affordable before such printers will compete with the promotional products industry. But when they are, at least some promotional products will be produced in-house.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you have a language strategy ?My Profile

  4. That is truly amazing. I have heard of 3D printing before but never really understood what it could do. It seems like the possibilities are endless and apart from the body part replication I loved the idea of being able to build a house in a day for $5000.
    Tim recently posted…Dharamsala and Chonor HouseMy Profile

  5. I’ve heard of and actually have used a form of 3D printing with my sendoutcards account. It is astounding what this does to plain old greeting cards! A particular thing this brought to my mind is I’m wondering if this is also what they might be using for some of the little products they allow us to include in the card. I’ll have to check on this.

    Fascinating times Arleen.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Top BS Facts about Introvert Experiences You Might Think Are TrueMy Profile

  6. Arleen, I think this is amazing and it would be really neat to see one of these printers in action. However, having said that, I’m glad you said in one of the comments that it will be some time before they are on our desks. That’s good, because there have been so many ‘amazing’ advances over the last while that I’m really running to try and catch up. Interesting article, nonetheless.
    Lenie recently posted…Sharing Rhubarb Know-How and…..a Great Jam RecipeMy Profile

  7. Arleen, I am so glad you posted this! I have heard of 3D printers and could NOT for the life of me understand how they would work. So I enthusiastically watched the video you included and A-HA! It makes perfect sense now but I hadn’t been able to fathom the realities of it. I hadn’t given the possibilities much thought so I’m not sure how to answer that, but I will absolutely concur that it will change the promotional item industry and soon. And how exciting! As this technology is embraced, more ideas will be imagined and prices will start to come down too. Maybe by then I’ll think of something I want to print to promote my blog! 😉

  8. 3D printing is an amazing discovery. It has more possibilities in the medical field. I am pretty sure, in the near future, the printer is going to be cheaply available. Remembering one episode of Grey’s anatomy, the 3D printed heart valve( if I am remembering it correctly) was saving the life of a baby.
    Bindu recently posted…Queen : Mixed media artMy Profile

  9. I think 3D printers are an amazing piece of technology I hadn’t thought about using them to create promotional products. I’m very interested to see what kind of turn this technology takes in the future.

  10. This is very interesting territory. 3D printers are changing production methods already and are going to help so many people. I first heard about them on NPR Science Friday and how they are helping astronauts who are making repairs to parts that can’t be replaced. 3D printers will be able to print out the parts so time and money can be saved by avoiding certain rescue missions in the future.

    The sky is the limit with these things. Truly exciting! Thanks for sharing.
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  11. Hey Arleen I have heard about 3D printing earlier in the year on a tech program I listen to weekly. I just did not get a grip of how exactly it works and this post has shed more light. I wonder what the extent of this 3D printing will be. For food I am already quite baffled at the idea.
    Welli recently posted…Managing string pullersMy Profile

  12. I have read a lot about these 3D printers and seen some videos including the one you shared. I can understand it being used for making toys and promotional gifts but still find it difficult to understand some of the things it can produce. As long as it’s not food – I won’t get too stressed.

  13. I’ve heard of using a form of 3D printing for various products. It turns something like a plain greeting cards into something pretty special and memorable. I plan on sending your thoughts to a friend who could use something like this in their business. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…I Am Grateful: #StoryMy Profile

  14. Wow this is amazing! body parts! Organs! Houses!! I had not heard of 3D printing but I’m really curious about it now and can’t wait to experience it. I agree that it will revolutionize marketing when you can create customized gifts, promotional materials, anything really without breaking the piggy bank. This is really promising!
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  15. The applications seem endless that’s for sure. Not too long ago I watched some sort of program where a girl would get a decent prosthetic limb made on a 3D printer that costs a lot less than one made traditionally. Of course her insurance wouldn’t cover it for some reason. Maybe 3D printing will do for small business what print on demand has done for publishing.
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  16. Hi arleen; it seems to me that 3d printing is kind of like how you spin sugar into cotton candy? 🙂 and it also seems to me that in the future it wil become more about th intellectual property meaning the product design and digital instructions to produce it. I’m thinking that you may want to start trade marking all your computer files along with drawings schematics etc. maybe not needed yet but something to think about. thanks for sharing your view of the future, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…Life Lessons From A Blind BloggerMy Profile

  17. Arlene,
    When I think of 3D printing, I immediately think of the 3D printed prosthetic hand that was built for the little boy that was born with no fingers on his right hand. I had not thought of it being applied in the promotional products industry. That’s a great application. I’m glad I picked today to drop by your blog again. You always have a way of finding something current and applying it to your specialty.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?My Profile

  18. 3D printing certainly opens up many doors especially when talking about promotional products for small businesses. you now no longer have to go to a large company and order overpriced products without the certainty of what you were going to get. nowadays, you can design what you want in house and just have it printed the way you want it for a lot less cost than it used to be.

  19. LOVED this article. You’re so right–3D printing will allow a whole new world of customization for promotional products. This will help companies, and sports teams, be able to provide the exact products that their publics are looking for.

  20. 3D printer technology is fascinating and can customize any objects, such as prostheses, spare parts that was previously hard to find value with cheaper cost, short customizing goes with the taste of each is incredible evolution of this technology.

  21. Actually, I’m totally new to additive manufacturing. yeah, it’s really a mind blowing technology and it is revolutionizing the way of printing. Thanks for including the video in this post. Got to know lot many things.
    Travis Birtt recently posted…3-D Printing TechnologyMy Profile

  22. You’re right about a faster turn around time. An additive manufacturing process like 3d printing is much faster than sculpting or molding, as you shared.

  23. Your comments about inventory issues make a lot of sense. When people can produce the product on the spot, there is no need to say it is unavailable, as you indicate.

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