3D Print Service Overview
All around the world, there are interesting 3D printing companies that provide customers with an easy-to-use service. Therefore we've created an overview of 3D printing services. Some of them are repositories, while others consist of global networks of 3D printers. Step into the world of 3D printing services!
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New York based Shapeways is definitely one of the leading services in the 3D printing world. Shapeways is basically a marketplace where users can design and upload their own files. They take care of the actual printing and shipping.
The company initially started in The Netherlands back in 2007 as a spin-off of Royal Philips Electronics. In 2009, already 90 people worked for the company and the company’s headquarters moved to New York. They also have offices in Seattle and Eindhoven; the original city of that other tech giant, Philips.
So why has Shapeways become such a success? Well, that is probably because the website enables 3D designers to easily sell their work online. Designers get to make money with their models, while Shapeways takes care of: payments, manufacturing, distribution and customer service.
As a customer, you can easy scroll through tons of products with eye-catching designs. The website has categories for, inter alia, art, miniatures, jewelry and gadgets.
Makexyz is a US company that offers a full menu of 3D printing services in all major formats: FDM, SLA, SLS and Polyjet. At Makexyz, you can print your 3D object with the best range of materials in the industry.
As a consumer, your on-demand 3D print choices are:
- Allow an experienced Makexyz print manager to handle the complete process. This includes professional 3D model design within 2 business days based on your concept and the creation of the appropriate file type. A 3D print shop verified for quality and dependability will then print the object. Makexyz has a global network of 3D printers. Your rights are protected because you own the STL file produced and corresponding intellectual property (IP). Free standard shipping is included as a cost-saving bonus. Overnight shipping is available when you need your 3D printed object the next day.
- Upload your 3D file to Makexyz, and a professional print manager will handle all the logistics. Makexyz will assign the project to a 3D print company near you with a proven track record of the highest quality and accuracy. This ensures that your 3D print can be produced to your exact specifications and be in your hands as quickly as possible. Free standard shipping and express next-day shipping are available. File types accepted are stl, obj, zip, step, stp, iges, igs, 3ds and wrl.
- Use the Makexyz “Find 3D Printers” list of rigorously verified 3D printers to connect directly with one close to you. You’ll find the printer’s name, location and its 3D print capabilities. This gives you the opportunity to get your print in hand as soon as the same day.
If you’ve already created a 3D file, you can upload it to Makexyz in one simple step to receive an instant price for the printing. Few 3D print services make it this easy to determine your cost. There is no obligation for using this free service.
Bulk orders are not a problem for Makexyz. It is the only online 3D printer that can deliver bulk orders within 5-7 business days. This is a popular option for 3D prints for fabrication, marketing, advertising, promotion, team building and other low-volume applications.
3D printing from Makexyz is secured by the company’s satisfaction guarantee.
Just like Shapeways, Ponoko can be seen as a 3D printing marketplace. However, this websites uses a slightly different approach. Instead of doing the manufacturing part itself, this company uses a network of manufacturers from all over the world. Customers can submit their designs and when they are ready to print, Ponoko will look for the closest manufacturer available. Manufacturers linked to Ponoko are using 3D printers, but also laser cutting techniques and CNC milling machines.
This kind of manufacturing is sometimes called ‘on-demand manufacturing'. In short it means that customers decide when a product will be manufactured, instead of a brand or company. In other words: a product will only be manufactured if someone asks for it. Ponoko currently has offices in New Zealand, Germany, UK and USA.
Sculpteo is an internationally oriented 3D printing service from France. The company’s founder Eric Carreel is very clear about his goals, as he tells Forbes: “Soon, instead of buying things that are made in large quantities at factories, we will buy objects made in quantities of just one, specifically for us”. This is exactly what Sculpteo does: after a designer uploads a design, a customer can purchase a 3D print. Sculpteo will print it and ship it to your home. You can print a wide variety of products, such as interior decorations, jewelry, miniatures and art pieces. The company uses 3D printers that can work with several different materials, such as ceramic, brass and plastic. Customers and designers can register themselves on Sculpteo’s website.
Sculpteo started back in 2009. In 2011 they started their 3D printing service, which at first was all about making your own avatar. In the following years, the company launched an app, as well as their 3D Batch Control. 3D Batch Control allows users to change the scale of a 3D model after it’s being uploaded. In addition, customers can select a 3D printing material themselves.
Belgian 3D printing company Materialise has its own 3D printing service, which is called i.Materialise. On i.Materialise designers can upload 3D models, and customers can order them to be printed and shipped by i.Materialise. There are different categories for, inter alia, gadgets, games and jewelry. The company also offers a 3D print lab, where you can upload your own 3D model. In 3D print lab you can scale the model and choose a material and a color.
If you’re not that much of a designer, you can use the creation corner. This where you can hire a professional designer to design your object.
i.Materialise offers several apps with which you can customise an object. The Jweel app for instance: with this app you can design your own jewellery.
Materialise started in 1990 as a spin-off by the university KU Leuven. Many years later, the company operates on a worldwide scale, with offices in Europe, Asia and North America.
Hailing from Dutch capital Amsterdam is 3D Hubs. 3D Hubs is basically a network of thousands of 3D printers in hundreds of countries. The idea: not everyone owns a 3D printer, but needs the ability to have access to one when necessary. Today 1 billion people in the world can get something printed within 10 miles of their home. Users can upload their own file, choose a print location nearby and get it printed. There are 3D Hubs all around the globe. Most of them are located in Europe and the US. Nevertheless, Australia, Asia, Africa, Russia and South-America also have 3D Hubs.
So what does the company do? Well, 3D Hubs itself makes sure all transactions between the Hubs and customers are performed properly. In other words, the company offers the service and connects people from all around the world. The average order time is currently 2 days.
3D Hubs has its main office in Amsterdam. The firm opened a second office in New York in August 2014. New York is currently the company’s most popular city with almost 1000 makers and 200 available printers. In September 2014, things really started to kick off for 3D Hubs. At that time the company was funded with around 4,5 million dollars.
South Africa also has its own successful 3D printing service, called Rapid3D. Besides offering 3D printing services they also sell 3D printers in their store. The company started back in 2004, years before 3D printing entered the mainstream. By that time, the team bought their first 3D printer, which was a ZPrinter 310. They initially wanted to set up a service bureau in ZwaZulu Natal, but things got a little out of hand. In a positive way that is, because they signed an agreement with ZCorporation, becoming South African's agent for 3D Systems.
The idea is to offer 3D printing services to those we don’t own a 3D printer at home. Rapid3D states their services are also useful for folks who want to try the technique before buying a 3D printer. If you’re based in South Africa, you can use their services and choose between two 3D printers. First there's the ZPrinter 650, which is a full color printer. Secondly there's the Project 3500 Plus, which is a printer specially made to print hard plastic parts. The company so far 3D printed a wide variety of in-home devices.
If you’re living in India and you’re looking for a 3D printing service, then try Imaginarium. This 3D printing service presents itself as India’s largest Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing Center. This company has over 30 years of experience and can print you a wide variety of products. For example architecture or jewelry, but also automotive products, consumer goods, foundry and packaging.
If you have an idea and want to see your idea come to life, then Imaginarium can help you out. The company does not solely work with 3D printing techniques, but also with SLA, SLS and Vacuum Casting machines.