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How NFT 3D printing solves 3D art distribution problems

If you follow our blog, crypto news, or business and investment influencers, you probably already know about how NFT technology is disrupting many industries.

I do not see digital asset trading as merely another investment opportunity, but as a technology that will usher in a new era for everyone. The most active industry in the NFT space at this time is the art industry.

Artworks have traded the most, but the primary issue holding potential investors from partaking is that they need their purchased arts to be tangible (physically available) and not only exist as a digital version. This is where NFT 3D printing comes in potentially.

I will revisit the process of making a physical copy of NFTs, but first, let’s go over what NFTs are and why they matter.

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. NFTs represent specific digital assets, and they are generated cryptographically (mined) and live on a blockchain. From its name, you can see the key property of NFTs, which is that they are unique and not interchangeable.

Although NFTs and cryptos live on blockchains, the fundamental distinctions between them are the uniqueness and noninterchangeable nature of NFTs. This means that the Bitcoin in my wallet is not unique from the Bitcoin you hold in your wallet.

The exact opposite is the case with NFTs, as every NFT item is unique, has an individual identification code, and cannot be interchangeable with another NFT. Hence, you can mine artworks, videos, tickets, social media posts, videos, and other digital goods and assign them their unique identification code.

NFT and 3D printing

Danit Peleg NFT 3D printing on Rarible
Danit Peleg NFT 3D printing on Rarible

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing is the process of developing solid, three-dimensional material objects from a digital file.

Several NFT photography and art marketplaces exist, where digital artists sell their works as NFTs. These platforms see incredible transaction volumes going into millions of dollars.

Although artworks are among the most traded items in these NFT marketplaces, people have gotten creative and sold all kinds of NFT, including NFT 3D printed items.

Importance of NFT technology in the 3D printing industry

While there have been advances in 3D printing, it’s still not without issues. Firstly, selling 3D models publicly is tricky. The STL format utilized by 3D printers does not ensure the security of the 3D models that they represent.

If the creator of a 3D model sends the STL file to a third party, this person can make copies of the file. This makes it tough for the owner of the design to protect their intellectual property.

Creators have no straightforward way to send the 3D model designs to a buyer while still securing their original design file. The solution to this problem is to sell individual 3D models as NFTs.

3D model designers are now creating value for their works by offering them for sale as NFTs on OpenSea, Rarible, and other digital marketplaces.

NFT 3D printing fashion and 3D art

Common applications of NFT 3D printing are in the fashion and art industries. In the case of fashion designers selling 3D printed fashion as NFTs. Regarding NFT 3D printing fashion, creators sell the models together with instructions on digital marketplaces. The buyer follows the instructions to actualize the garment in any color or material they want.

Creators could design their 3D models and store information about each 3D model in distinct folders. Each folder is assigned the unique identification number of the NFT of the 3D model.

When a party purchases a 3D print NFT, the creator proceeds to grant the buyer access to the folder with the unique identification number of the NFT bought.

Each folder would contain required files for printing the garment as well as documents including the NFT 3D printing instructions. An example of such a creator who uses this method is Danit Peleg.

Buying and selling 3D printed art as NFT work the same way. Buyers can purchase an NFT of the GCODE with Ethereum. With NFT 3D printing, 3D art may likely become a new form of art.

At the time of writing this article, you cannot use 3D printed art for custom or tax purposes. This is because they are not recognized forms of artwork but rather as machine-made.

Another use of NFT 3D printing is that the holder of prestigious NFT collections may finally be able to 3D print their NFTs into a physical object that they can keep, sell (together with the NFT perhaps), or put on display. This gives their NFT more value because even if the price of the cryptocurrency fluctuates or crashes, the holders would still have themselves a beautiful, valuable and unique piece of artwork.

Can you 3D print an NFT?

The holder of an NFT may 3D print it if they wish to and if the artist grants the right to do so. But no, you cannot ‘NFT’ a 3D model because the size of the STL file is incredibly large. This file takes up tens of megabytes of data, and blockchains cannot handle such amounts of data currently.

What is NFT printing?

NFT printing can be defined as a process of making a physical 2D or 3D representation of an NFT item.

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