At a tour of of HP’s headquarters a couple of months back one interesting titbit was revealed during a demonstration of the digital printing press; HP had found that customers were willing to pay up to 10 x the price of a regular bar of chocolate simply by adding some customisation to the packaging.
ASUS, the computing hardware company are trying to tap into the lucrative personalisation market by allowing PC DIYers to 3D print their own embellishments for the Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura motherboard. Certain positions on the board will have dedicated mounts to allow users to 3D print their own logos and nameplates to enhance the aesthetic on the board.
If you were to draw a Venn diagram of those who like to build their own PCs and those who like to 3D print at home there is inevitably going to be some overlap so an add on as such, albeit purely for novelty over functional value, is a sensible move by ASUS.
But ASUS aren’t just stopping there, the company has been experimenting for some time in 3D printing functional parts for the motherboards; cable covers and mounts being the most popular use cases. The company’s Edge Up blog showcases a number of functional upgrades that they themselves and fellow ASUS users have implemented using 3D printing.
Although the bog says it is not getting carried away with the current 3D printing technology and that it “has its limitations”, the use of the technology may act as a sort of gate way to the much popularised spare parts application. It is foreseeable that ASUS could offer a sort of digital spare part library for users to 3D print their own components. Less so for electrical faults on motherboards but certainly for peripherals.
ASUS gaming keyboards and mouses take some serious beating in the extensive hours gamers dedicate to their favourite titles. If it is a small plastic part, say a keyboard stand leg that breaks the ability to 3D print another part instead of shelling out for a completely new product would no doubt be appealing.
This decade’s proliferation of desktop 3D printers has consistently sort a killer application, perhaps the more big name brands like ASUS that jump on-board allowing easier integration with their products the more those machines will stop collecting dust in the corner and begin whirring away.