Guide: 3D Printing Services 2017-07-02T13:58:40+00:00

A Guide to Using the Right 3D Printing Service

Once you have a 3d printable file, by either downloading or creating one, there are many 3d printing services and bureaus that you can send your file to for them to print.  Services vary between local service bureaus, centralized production centers, or decentralized networks of printers.

In NYC? Check out our guide for the best 3d printing services in NYC.

Online 3D Printing Services

Shapeways

Shapeways is an online service and marketplace for 3d printing.  If you have a 3d file to print, you can upload it through their website, which will give you prices for a variety of different material options.

  • Advantages: Large Selection of Materials and High Quality
  • Disadvantages: Slower Turnaround Time, Automated

Sculpteo

  • Advantages: Large Selection of Materials and High Quality
  • Disadvantages: Slower Turnaround Time, Automated

I Materialise

  • Advantages: Large Selection of Materials and High Quality
  • Disadvantages: Slower Turnaround Time, Automated

3D Hubs

3D Hubs is a decentralized 3d printing service that follows the model of the Air BnB of 3d printing – capitalizing on underutilized 3d printers that hobbyists have at home.  Since the company first started, the model has gradually trended towards connecting people with local 3d printing service providers in your area – however many of the “hubs” are people with printers in their home or office.

  • Advantages: Fast
  • Disadvantages: Less Professional Accountability

 Voodoo Manufacturing

  • Advantages: Very Fast
  • Disadvantages: Limited to PLA Plastic

Community Fab Labs & Makerspaces

TechShop is a community maker space with several locations across the US.  While they have a wide range of equipment and machinery available to use, they also have 3d printers – which may be a great place to get access to printers.

Also, many municipal and academic libraries have 3d printers.  View the map here.

 

Local Service Bureaus

There’s likely a 3d printing service in your area.  You may be able to spot them through 3d Hubs or through a google search.  In NYC, there are several local services such as 3D Brooklyn, Voxel Magic, and Printaworld.

 

High-Touch Service Bureaus

For complex or especially demanding projects, it may require looking to a high touch service like Fathom.  Fathom is located in the Pacific Northwest and offers complex prototyping and design consultancy services as well as a 3d printing service.

 

Best 3D Printing Services by Category:

 

I need high quality prints.  Fast.  My company has a pretty good budget and we need this project done.

Better Material Quality & Options

Quicker Turnaround

 Lower Cost

Recommendation:

High-touch service

I would like a reliable service with a wide range of materials.  The project isn’t urgent.

Better Material Quality & Options

Quicker Turnaround

 Lower Cost

Recommendation:

  • Shapeways
  • iMaterialise
  • Sculpteo

I don’t need anything crazy.  Just a basic PLA plastic 3d print from a desktop machine. Preferably nearby.

Better Material Quality & Options

Quicker Turnaround

Lower Cost

Recommendation:

  • Voodoo Manufacturing
  • Local Service
  • 3D Hubs