• Blaine Martin

In the future - how will 3d printing affect the Coca-Cola items we collect?

My first exposure to 3D printing was in the mid-90s when I was offered a design director position with a major consumer electronics company. Part of the sales pitch during the interview was me having a 3d printer at my disposal. That printer was a small intricate machine that made somewhat rudimentary design prototypes from the engineers 3d modeling software. It was never-the-less very cool!

Since that time -some 20 plus years ago - I have seen the transition of the 3d printer from purely a modeling and prototyping device to one that is used to manufacture finished products for industries such as aerospace, medical, dental, motor sports, It is also used to make architectural scale models, movie props and copies of archaeological artifacts. . . it was those last three items that got me thinking about how this technology might impact ours and other similar hobbies.

Soon we will be able to make exact replicas of missing knobs on a Coca-Cola Bottle Radio or a Coca-Cola Cooler Radio or maybe the entire radio exterior itself. We will be able to replace missing design elements on signs or clocks, or make the ornate frames for Vienna Art plates.

You get the idea — custom parts at a reasonable cost— and in small quantities.

Chances are the parts will vary from the originals as far as material, but look the same as far as appearance. I cant imagine these type of items having a negative impact on the hobby, like fake porcelain signs, or reproduction printed paper and metal objects have. But, like most things, I am sure someone will figure out how to use the technology to deceive and take money from unknowledgable collectors. Stay tuned!

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