The Intuit Small Business blog is reporting that the main reason a growing number of hobbyists are turning their passions into businesses is the costs of creating professional grade products has gotten cheaper and easier.

The price of many advanced, computer-controlled tools, such as laser cutters, milling machines, 3-D printers and computer-aided design tools have fallen to the point where hobbyists and small businesses can easily afford them.

A good example is Kilduff Machine, a maker of automotive performance parts. Its main product is a ratchet shifter that replaces a car’s manual shift and increases the speed and accuracy of shifting in performance cars. The shifter is made of metal and Kilduff Machine uses a PC controlled laser cutter to make the product.

Without the low-cost laser cutter, Kilduff Machine would not have been able to produce their product at a price attractive to the market.

And new, low cost tools that enable hobbyists seem to be released almost every day. Shapeways, a Dutch company that is a leader in providing 3-D printing services to hobbyists and small businesses, just released a new method for color 3-D printing. This greatly broadens the types of products that can be constructed using 3-D printers.

Just as laser printers connected to PCs created the desktop publishing revolution and changed the printing industry, these new low cost manufacturing technologies are changing how things are made – and creating opportunities for hobbypreneurs.

Photo by Shapeways.

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