Up until now, 3-D printing has been relatively limited. But startup Rize, aims to not only simplify the process, and reduce the hardware required but also to make creating diverse pieces quicker and easier.

Focused on engineers and designers, the Rize system will enable creators to adapt to various strengths and thicknesses of plastic, and allow for additional variables, such as spot colour and component specific adaptation. As a result, businesses who require flexibility, not only during the printing process but also at design phase, will be able to increase their reliance on 3-D printing. It will also offer organisations that require colour warnings or branding to remove one stage from the manufacturing process, speeding up production time and reducing cost.

Rize is currently raising an initial $5 million on the back of, what is considered to be a robust product roadmap.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the investment spectrum, Carbon (you may have known them as Carbon 3D) has added $81 million and funding from partners such as BMW, Nikon and Sequoia capital. The difference with Carbon’s machines – such as their flagship M1 – is that they don’t follow the traditional route of depositing a layer, then another one, then another one. Instead, using a pool of material, they sculpt from the design – in the same way a human sculptor would mould a piece of clay. As a result, the machines can generate objects at up to 100 times faster than traditional industrial 3-D printers.

The benefits for companies like BMW and Nikon are obvious – enabling them to create masses of products from raw material, without additional shipping or diverse manufacturing requirements. In fact, these businesses are betting on just that – and hoping that Carbon’s system of essentially sculpting, rather than printing will be the next step and 3-D printing, and manufacturing.

Carbon CEO, Joe DeSimone says :

“We believe that 3-D printing is a misnomer, it’s historically 2-D printing over and over again and the breakthrough we had laid out an approach where we use light and oxygen to grow parts.”

It’s an interesting distinction and one that raises an important point over the effectiveness of 3-D printing. As businesses transition from being impressed by what is seen as essentially creating something from nothing to wanting it to be streamlined enough to form a part of the value chain, Carbon has put its focus in the right place.