Dyo: 3D printing sans 3D printing knowhow

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on January 27, 2014

From The News Desk

The world of 3D printing is exiting the fringes of professional fabrication and entering into the mainstream scope of commerce. We can thank the likes of MakerBot, who has been working to invent cheaper printers of this ilk -- as well as educational initiatives for public schools -- to get the 3D printing word out, so to speak.

Unsurprisingly, others are now entering the market, attempting to showcase how 3D printed goods can become a new way to make personal objects, that aren't just fun plastic toys to be thrown out.

Take, for example, which is an MIT-based startup that provides an online 3D printed good marketplace. It just launched with a simple and unique concept: Any object for sale on its website can be customized by the customer. As of now, these customizations are pretty simple -- a specific engraving, a certain material, etc. But it is a good example of the possibilities of 3D printing startups, especially ones that are trying to show how the concept can enter into e-commerce.

As Dyo sees it, CAD (computer aided design) software -- which is the computing backend of any 3D printing undertaking -- is built for those who are professionally trained in it, and therefore utterly confusing. "If enterprise is stuck in the '90s," Dylan Reid, the CEO of (the company from which Dyo was born), said, "CAD software is stuck in the early 1970s." If someone wants to print a 3D object, the current method to do so would most probably require the expertise of someone who has at least some prior knowledge in CAD.

Reid, who has a background in industrial design, wanted there to be a site for people who don't want to learn these skills but still may want to purchase these nifty new items. Like an Amazon for 3D objects, I suppose. "The best thing in the world was if people had no idea they were working with CAD," he told me.

Thus, Dyo came to be. Right now its offerings aren't terribly expansive: it has three necklaces and two rings. But from here Reid believes more objects can be customized so that anyone can purchase and personalize them. As he sees it, Dyo's interface is about making consumers' interactions with 3D printed objects "more interesting, more immersive, more dynamic."

To make the production of these objects easier and more scalable, Dyo has partnered with 3D printing object distributor Shapeways. Reid explained that Dyo deals with the design problem and Shapeways "deals with the distribution problem." From there, "the whole end-to-end process is digital."

It's no surprise that Dyo is launching now; each object the website sells would be a perfect Valentine's Day gift. At the same time, given the limitedness of its offerings, it's hard to get a true sense for what kind of customizable objects can be made with Reid's new approach to 3D printing commerce platforms.

I guess for now we'll just have to wait and see what designs Dyo comes up with. Just as long as it's not a customizable 3D printed gun, I'm probably on board.

[Image via DYO]