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New 3D-printed pots make their market debut for balms and more

Lisa McTigue Pierce

November 5, 2015

4 Min Read
New 3D-printed pots make their market debut for balms and more

Anita Redd forged new ground last year when she created an intricate container for her skin balm that was made on a 3D printer for every product she sold. The owner of Anita’s Balm, Redd expands now into pots, still made entirely through 3D printing—but with two twists.

1. She is offering to make her 3D-printed packages for other brand owners now.

2. She has also designed a carabiner so a 0.5-oz pot can clip onto backpacks, belts or purses.

Redd will be showcasing all her 3D designed and printed packages at SouthPack 2015 (Nov. 18-19; Orlando, FL) in Booth 1125.

She gives us a few more details here:

Do these 3D-printed packages replace your earlier jar, which required some assembly, or are they in addition to it?

Redd: They are new additions to our product line. I will sell them full of balm—and empty for customers to put their own product in.

Why sell empty pots to other product manufacturers?

Redd: We believe other companies that use plastic containers have the desire, as we do, to reduce plastic waste and to express creativity in their packaging to set them apart.

How much product fits into these?

Redd: The smaller version leggy pot with the colored label holds 0.25 oz. The larger one holds 1 oz.

How did you come up with this shape?

Redd: We wanted something easy to hold and that holds a common amount. I want to compete with the Carmex tin for the 0.25-oz size.

How long does it take the 3D printer to make the 0.25-oz jar?

Redd: It takes 30 minutes on the MakerGear M2, as we have it equipped.

How long to make the larger 1-oz pot?

Redd: Around 90 minutes.

How many 3D printers do you have? How much available production do you have to make pots for other companies?

Redd: We have maximized our 3D printer so that we double the capacity from it. We hope to quadruple the production from one printer in the future so the number of printers is not the question—it is how much have we maximized them! We can do as much as someone with eight printers with just a few printers.

Is it time and cost efficient to produce the pots on a 3D printer, or is this more a novelty package?

Redd: These containers cannot be produced in any other way, so this is the best time- and cost-efficient way to produce them. The individuality of the designs does not lend them to making molds for traditional manufacturing, avoiding the high costs of molds and allowing custom and flexible manufacturing.

We believe this is the future of manufacturing—companies of any size can order any amount and have a unique brand. 

Why make the jar in different colors?

Redd: We'll use it in white for Anita's Balm but customers who want a quantity empty can have it any color PLA [polylactic acid] that can be mixed.

Can customers request a specific color, and then you make them to order?

Redd: Yes. We can use colorants and make custom colors for any quantity.

I see the colored label is on the 0.25-ounce size and the black-and-white label is on the larger size. Is this how you sell them?

Redd: For right now. We will update labels later.

What plans do you have for the future labels and why?

Redd: We would like to go toward more multi-colored labels. We have noticed other cosmetics have highly graphic labels that are bright and eye catching.

How is the design of the clip for bags or belt loops coming? Will this also be available to customers or just for Anita’s Balm?

Redd: This is ready (see a video here). We will be selling the pot full of Anita's Balm starting this weekend (Nov. 7, 2015) and empty at SouthPack.

The four pieces are relatively quick to print. We have a half-ounce pot that twists in and a metal spring clip. The rest of the package is 3D printed out of PLA. We will have it for purchase at SouthPack in white and black and can do other colors as well.

The pot can be sold separately as a refill and screwed in when a new one is needed. We are going to begin to work with colorants and will have choices available for all the parts soon.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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