3D printing is becoming increasingly popular and cheaper.
It consists in the possibility of creating a real physical copy of an object starting from its own 3D digital representation, made with modeling software (such as Blender, Autocad, Maya). It is an additive type process in which the material is deposited in successive layers until the complete shape is created.
Surely Shapeways has a certain reputation, and one of the first online 3D printing services in the world. Turn your ideas into something real says the site slogan.
The headquarters of Shapeways in New York and a company born as a startup in 2007. Users can upload the 3D model and the service will provide 3D printing and shipping.
A large number of materials are available for creating an object, including ceramic, steel, plastic and even a color print.
Recently, it has also introduced a type of resin that allows high precision 3D printing; It is possible to create layers of 16 microns and have a very high detail. For example, it is possible to print very detailed figurines and miniatures. Each model is checked by hand and then shipped.
The platform created by Shapeways has evolved and become a real community in which groups of users can exchange tips and opinions on 3D printing. For artists, it is also possible to open a small store inside Shapeways and sell or present their portfolio of 3D models.
The price of 3D models printed with very variable Shapeways depends on the size of the object you want to print and the material used. It should be noted that it is in any case one of the cheapest services able to guarantee even a very high quality.
Ponoko's 3D printing service distributed worldwide; this means that it is very likely that if you order from Italy, receive the printed object directly from some production site in Europe.
Ponoko also has numerical control machines (CNC) to perfect and customize 3D printing once the object is completed. In addition to 3D printing and CNCs, Ponoko offers a precision laser cutting service starting from a 2D base.
Ponoko does not only target end users, but also companies and organizations, allowing you to have discounts on large quantities of printed objects or forms made with laser cuts.
The materials available are many and the formula of the service provides for the possibility of returning the object if the print quality does not live up to expectations.
Like Shapeways, Ponoko also has a showroom where artists and modelers can make their creations available for sale.
This 3D printing service is part of a meta category, such as a search engine to find the best price / 3D printing service. The 3D model file to be printed must be in .STL format and various criteria must be set to search for a print service.
The really interesting thing about this service, the possibility of making your 3D printer available and making yourself available to print (setting materials, etc.) the models made by other people.
There is therefore a Customer part and a Supplier part with which the matching between supply and demand of 3D printing service is achieved with a sort of marketplace.
It is a more targeted and refined service than the previous ones. With 3DPrintingAlly we could get in touch and contact expert staff who can advise us at best. No mass production therefore, but a dedicated service with a reduced line of materials available compared to the previous ones. Dedicated to enthusiasts, it contains a sort of blog in which to receive news concerning future developments and 3D printing in general.
One of those services that you can only use if you live in the United States. More than a 3D Printing service, The 3D Printer Experience works hard to spread modern printing technologies and allows novices / companies to receive information on 3D Printing. You can visit the factory live in Chigago and take a close look at the 3D printing methods. It is a very interesting project that aims to spread to other countries.
One of the constraints we face with 3D printing is production times; 3D printers are currently very slow and even creating a small object takes a very long time. ZoomRP (RP stands for Rapid Prototyping) tries to meet the people and / or companies that need to receive prototypes in a very short time. The 3D Printing service claims to be the fastest in the world in printing and shipping models. It certainly has a higher price than Shapeways and Ponoko, but the needs for those who use ZoomRP are of a different type (the speed). To obtain certain print speeds, the possible materials for printing are very few.
Very similar to Printelize, 3DHubs allows you to search for a 3D printer made available in our vicinity. Using geolocation, you can view how many allow a 3D printing service on the map and have opinions and reviews from other users who have previously tried the service.
The local 3D printing services that can be found, are distinguished by Print Quality, Service, Speed ??and Communication. 3DHubs dedicated to beginners and beginners in the world of 3D printing and contains a reference manual for choosing the material to be used (with which we can filter our searches within the site).
On the platform, it is possible to have a global view of the number of 3D printers and services made available.
Student discounts are also available.
The 3DHubs service offers a section for those who want to offer their own 3D printing service (as well as Printelize).
That of I.Materialise a service similar to Shapeways and Ponoko, but less known. Over 20 different materials can be chosen and even large objects can be printed. All printed objects can be sold through the shop integrated into the site. Since this is a service with the operational headquarters in the Netherlands, it is very easy to quickly receive a model printed in Italy using I.Materialise.
The strengths are extreme simplicity and the clear and simple interface for beginners.
Social 3D Printing Service ?which belongs to the same category of Printelize and 3DHubs examined above.
Essential website interface, requires only the upload of the model in .STL format and the search by address for the best 3D printing services nearby.
The strength of MakeXYZ is the possibility of using a bulk creation of the object / prototype, that is, making up to 5000 copies of the object using the various printing services in parallel.