Join Ponoko at Inside 3D Printing next week in NYC!

Get 15% off conference passes


Join powerhouse 3D printing companies, professionals, industry leaders, and hobbyists to discuss the 3D printing revolution at Inside 3D Printing.

Inside 3D Printing is April 22-23 in New York City, and Ponoko fans will save 15% off gold conference passes with promo code: P15

You’ll hear keynote presentations by leaders in the field: Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems; Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO and Co-Founder of Shapeways; and Terry Wohlers, Principal Consultant and President of Wohlers Associates, Inc.

Featured Session:
How Professional Investors Are Playing the 3D Printing Boom
A panel of venture capitalists, including professionals from T. Rowe Price Associates, Lux Capital, RRE Ventures, and Piper Jaffray, will explore where investors are placing their bets. You’ll learn what types of startups VCs are interested in funding and where to invest your own money in this emerging industry.

View the full program here.

You’ll be able to meet with professionals from 3D Systems, Autodesk, MakerBot, Mcor Technologies, Stratasys, Leonardo, NRI, sculpteo, ZoomRP, GoMeasure3D, Solidoodle, and Ponoko’s own director of manufacturing, Dan Emery.

Register here and save 15% with promo code P15.

Sculpteo raises $2.5 million in angel investment

Another 3D printing company attracts investment.

Sculpteo has received an investment of $2.5 million from XAnge Private Equity and business angels. Sculpteo’s specialty is providing integrated 3D printing solutions with smartphone apps, web apps, embed-able virtual stores, and, of course, 3D printing services.

3D printing has rapidly gone from niche to mainstream and now attracts the large investments and acquisitions one might expect in any other major industry. After MakerBot received $10 million in investment it began to expand rapidly, opening a New York City Store and reorienting its product line towards professionals. I will be interesting to see how Sculpteo changes and expands with their new funding.

Via 3D Printing Event blog

3D printing explained

Industry experts lay it all out in a series of infographics

It’s very possible that you already know 3D printing inside and out, and are just as excited as we are by the possibilities that this technology holds for our future.

But even for those in the know, it can be helpful sometimes to step back and take a snapshot of where things are at in this dynamic, exciting and rapidly changing environment.

Featured above is a graphic matrix from Objet Inc’s Tuan TranPham that sets out major players in the 3D printing world, including yours truly, Ponoko.
After the break, we have two more traditional infographics; one from Sculpteo that comprehensively tracks the evolution and growth of 3D printing; and a simpler intro from the folks at Hightable. They are both well worth a look.   (more…)

Sculpteo 3D printing iPhone app

Make a vase from your own profile

For those who enjoy a novelty gift, the new iPhone app from Sculpteo might be just what you’ve been looking for.

A free download onto your favourite i-device is all that it takes. Use the app to snap a picture, and then with just a few simple manipulations the resulting data is prepared for printing as either a vase, a bowl or a coffee cup.
It’s not all about putting your pointy-nosed mug on a mug – the app can also be used to model your twitter statistics or customize an iPhone case.

With access to the Sculpteo community, this app is a great way to introduce people to the world of 3D printing and the possibilities that are enabled by the technology that we carry around with us in our daily lives.

Sculpteo via Engadget

3D Printed Model Rocket

It flies through the air with the greatest of ease.

Watch the video to see the launch of a 3D printed model rocket. As far as I know, this is a first. I’m imagining the strange and unusual rocket designs to come.

Via @Sculpteo

Sculpteo 3D Printing Service Now Available in the USA and Canada

Another option for your on-demand 3d printing needs.

The 3D printing company Sculpteo out of Paris, France is now available to customers in the USA and Canada. It offers a similar on-demand 3D printing service as Shapeways and i.Materialise. You can upload your own 3D model or make a customized product with their creator tools. From looking through their gallery, their primary market appears to be figures and characters.

We previously mentioned Sculpteo in an article about the growing on-demand manufacturing network.

Via technabob

The On-Demand Manufacturing Network

collaboration vs comparison and competition

I started writing this post as a feature on 3D Printing create/make/show/sell company Sculpteo, the latest venture in on-demand manufacturing. Sculpteo allows users to upload their 3D designs, select their materials, order 3D printed models, and (beginning in March) sell them to the design loving public. It’s a familiar set up; Ponoko and Shapeways and several other services are based on the exact same model.

It’s hard not to see Sculpteo as a direct competitor to Shapeways, so the natural step was to do some comparisons. How does each company’s quality measure up? What are the price differences? Whose website is easiest to use? Which online store looks coolest so as to attract buyers? I wondered how many more companies would try and get in this game. Will we one day have as many 3D Printing service-shops to choose from as we do hair salons? Will some giant corporation eventually buy them all up and monopolize the entire industry?

Such a future isn’t unlikely. Unless… these companies collaborate instead of compete.

That may sound like a Utopian/Communist idea that will inevitably come to odds with the driving forces of business. But On-Demand Manufacturing is uniquely well-suited to a collaborative network model. First of all, it’s a new thing. There are few enough organizations out there doing this that it’s possible to round them all up. If a new start-up company wants to get a piece of the on-demand pie, why not negotiate a symbiotic relationship with existing organizations instead of setting up independent shop. This doesn’t necessarily mean a franchise; it just means sharing resources (knowledge, materials, customer base, database).

The second reason collaboration can work for On-Demand Manufacturers is that, unlike with traditional products and services, it is the user that provides the variety — not the other way around. We want a variety of restaurants because we want a variety of food choices. The same goes for clothing, television channels, travel options, and pretty much everything else. Having access to multiple on-demand manufacturers is like having multiple and equally talented, personal chefs. They will make whatever you want; so just pick the one that will feed you the fastest.

The media is calling the movement in on-demand manufacture the next industrial revolution, but the real revolution would be to abandon the notion of innumerable self-contained businesses, avoid the modernist fate of monopoly, and create a truly post-modern network of manufacture and production.

Getting back to how I started writing this, no sooner had I changed the direction of the post than I realized that such a network was in the making. That’s the real brilliance of 100K Garages and Ponoko’s recent deal with Formulor.  Those initiatives aren’t just about convenience, grass-roots appeal, or international reach; it’s about shaping the future of manufacture and spreading the democratization of design.