3D Printing Services Review
Why Use a 3D Printing Service
3D printing services have been heralded as the third industrial revolution. Manufacturers, designers, artisans and individuals are harnessing the cutting-edge technology of 3D printing and mass production to create custom parts. 3D printing companies have responded with a range of online 3D printing services that offer technologies catering to range of uses. Their ultimate goal is to help you harness the technology without investing substantial time and money into researching 3D design principals and 3D printing technologies for your particular business.
Whether you are a designer, manufacturer, entrepreneur, artisan or individual, 3D printing services enable you to create custom parts, products and prototypes in less time and for less money. If you’re a manufacturer, you can print parts and prototypes. If you manage a virtual storefront, your customers can purchase your products, and an online 3D printing website ships it directly to their door. If you’re a designer, you can bring your concepts to life with prototypes and scale models. With the help of services like Shapeways, Sculpteo and 3D Hubs, you will be able to find a 3D printing service that fits your needs.
3D Printing Services: What to Look For
3D printing services don’t merely print products. They also address inventory, distribution, production and customer service. These tools improve every phase of your supply chain, and they do it without requiring a major investment in your own 3D printing technology.
Is Design Assistance Available?
If you’re new to the world of 3D printing, you may need a service that offers 3D design assistance. Look for a platform with a community of 3D designers who can convert 2D renderings or general ideas into tangible products. These services can also offer helpful tips on how to optimize your design to reduce production costs.
Some 3D printing services offer thousands of design templates you can customize to meet your specific needs. Look for a website that offers a robust package of design tools to customize stock designs or those that you can tweak to your specifications.
Can You Choose the Materials for Your Project?
Different 3D printing services use different materials to print products. Look for a platform that offers numerous materials you can select from that suit your needs. If you’re a jeweler, ensure that the custom 3D printer has a nice selection of precious metals. If you’re an industrial manufacturer, check that the service has materials and technologies to produce parts and components that meet your specific needs. Also, keep in mind that the material you select plays a major role in printing costs, so always explore alternatives to materials to help reduce your 3D printing service costs.
Does the Service Offer Multiple 3D Printing Techniques?
Different 3D printing technologies cater to the needs of different industries and users. Additive manufacturing, form and fill, direct laser sintering and stereolithography are just a few examples of the different techniques or processes used to make 3D designs. It's important to look for a service provider that offers consultation services to help you choose the best technique or process for you. Also, if you’re looking for short-run production of parts, make sure the platform and technology you choose can handle the volume. Or, if you need a prototype, compare the turnaround time that different platforms offer.
Can You Sell Your 3D Designs Online?
Some 3D printing services have built worldwide marketplaces that their customers can use to sell their 3D designs. Check to see if the printer offers this service. For many services, once a customer purchases your product, the service invoices, prints and ships the product directly to your customer. Some of these virtual storefronts can be embedded into your personal website and social media pages. If you’re a designer or artisan, look for a service that offers a robust virtual marketplace so a worldwide audience can purchase your products.
The 3D printing services industry is relatively new, but you already have an array of service providers to choose from. The best 3D printing company for you depends on a number of different factors, including your industry, market and individual need, so consider your options thoroughly before placing your first order.