As the founder of slo 3D creators, which he opened nearly a year ago to serve mostly product designers, artists and
Using a Structure.io device, he can also produce 3-D scans in real time, which Balzer stitches together to create composite models.
The price varies depending on the job, but most customers pay close to
Balzer, who worked as the IT manager and director of 3-D visualization at
In the early 1980s and 1990s, he designed five after-market multimedia products for the Commodore Amiga personal computer. One of the peripherals, ChromaKey+, a consumer-based video color keyer -- a special effects technique for compositing two images or video streams together based on color hues -- won
"It was my interest in the Amiga that I learned how to use 3-D rendering software with a product called Lightwave," he said.
Now, he sees himself as being part of a new technological revolution.
"I try to see a market that is emerging, and I see how my talents and expertise can move it forward," said Balzer, whose background is in engineering and computer programming.
Balzer, who declined to disclose financial information about his firm, said he currently "earns enough to pay the office rent." A challenge, he said, is that the most up-to-date equipment costs between
"I did not realize that it would be so difficult to obtain the printers and even the scanners required to accomplish some of my goals at a reasonable investment," he said. "In fact, I am still filling technical gaps -- like a quicker, high-resolution 3-D scanning device at a reasonable price. As well as mature software for manipulation, design and printing."
Balzer acknowledged the inherent risks in starting up such a new venture.
"The concern with any cutting-edge service is having enough clients to sustain the day-to-day costs of doing business and providing services that are unique or too costly/difficult for the consumer to do on their own," he said. "It is also important to educate the public to the uses of 3-D fabrication for unique and customized products, and the benefit in having someone local."
Despite these challenges, Balzer continues to build clientele.
"An upcoming market that I see becoming a huge potential is the use of 3-D tools and fabrication in medicine to create prosthetics, teach medical professionals, plan surgical procedures and even fabricate tissue and organs," he said.
Once a month, Balzer shares formation about 3-D technology through the
In the next decade, he believes 3-D technology "will only get better, faster, cheaper and easier to work with."
More people, however, will need to be convinced that such technology is worth the investment.
"We live in a throw-away society, where many things come to us easy, fast and cheap," he said. "Why would you want to waste hours and money to make something you can buy on
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