Since its inception in the 1980s, 3D printing has matured to the point of becoming a viable manufacturing process to challenge traditional modes of production. Small batch, one-offs, and functional prototyping are all seeing an upswing in cost reductions and turnaround time thanks to 3D printing. Democratizing this revolution is a vast swathe of 3D printing services.
So, without further ado, here’s our meticulously compiled list of the 3D printing services to know right now — plus a little shameless self-promotion on our part, because we offer something unique in Craftcloud, All3DP’s 3D printing and price comparison service, where you can get instant prices and the widest selection of materials for your specific print job compiled from the leading 3D printing services.
It’s impossible to quantify which is the best without bucketloads of money to spare on orders so as our fallback for such lists, we’ve ordered all of the services by their Alexa rank, which is determined by web traffic and similar factors.
(Lead image: Voodoo Manufacturing)
Craftcloud is All3DP’s in-house 3D printing and price comparison service.
Generating instant quotes for 3D print jobs from Shapeways, i.Materialise, Sculpteo, Trinckle, Jawstech, Treatstock, and FF3DM, Craftcloud dynamically offers an extensive selection of materials, prices, and shipping estimates.
Add in international delivery and attentive customer service, and you have the complete package.
3DExperience Marketplace | Make is Dassault Systèmes solution for advanced manufacturing orders, scaling from one-offs to integrated supply chains by connecting users with the right partner from a global network of manufacturers.
Integrations with Solidworks and CATIA CAD/CAM software allows engineers and designers to go end-to-end from the comfort of one workspace. However, you don’t need to be a user of the company’s software to use the 3DExperience Marketplace | Make service — anyone can create an account and upload files for printing. Subtractive and other manufacturing processes are also options when using the service, and cloud integration in the form of Dropbox and Google Drive is a nice bonus.
World’s most popular online 3D printing service Shapeways offers two services. On the consumer side, you can choose from a broad array of professionally designed items, customize them and have them printed to your specifications. Similar to other 3D printing services, Shapeways hosts storefronts for designers to sell models, printing the sales for them. Shapeways is also suitable for rapid prototyping – customers will profit from industrial grade printers (EOS, 3D Systems) and dedicated technical support.
Shapeways’ 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
Originally focused on 3D printing facilitated by local enthusiasts and professionals, 3D Hubs has pivoted towards offering a wide array of manufacturing processes from professional partners — suggesting the optimum method of production on a part by part basis and then delegating it to an appropriately located partner for manufacture.
Alongside dynamically updating prices based on material and location, turnaround times are also specified, making that an important variable in your purchase decision.
Materialise is a company that works with industrial clients to produce prototypes and 3D printed products. But for the general public and individual designers, Materialise offers an online 3D printing service called i.materialise.
Much like Shapeways above, i.Materialise also hosts designer-run shops, allowing creatives to sell their wares as physical items which are then fulfilled by i.Materialise
i.Materialise’s 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
OnSite is Materialise’s online 3D printing service for industrial clients. With one of the largest fleet of 3D printers in Europe, OnSite is an excellent choice to create high-quality rapid prototypes within a short timeframe. Accordingly, you will find a wide range of printing technologies, materials, and finishes at your disposal. Rush services are available for a handful of materials, with lead times as short as one working day possible.
In addition to the online 3D printing service, OnSite offers its expertise in selecting the technologies, materials, and finishes appropriate for the project. Its in-house designers and engineers are also happy to assist you in optimizing your 3D files for 3D printing.
Website: Materialise OnSite
Like Shapeways and i.materialise, Sculpteo is an online 3D printing service that allows anyone to upload 3D models and have them fabricated in a wide variety of materials. In keeping with its competitors, Sculpteo also allows individuals and professionals to open up an online storefront and sell their designs to the public.
Sculpteo’s stable of professional services position it as a comprehensive partner for batch production, prototyping, and design validation. A number of online tools including analysis and repair, plus optimization help you to get the most out of your print.
3D Systems is one of the original developers of additive manufacturing technologies, with decades of experience contributing to it being a leading manufacturer of industrial printers today. In addition to developing additive manufacturing systems, the company offers its own high-quality online manufacturing service, 3D Systems On Demand. Split into various branches, including subtractive manufacturing, Quickparts Rapid Prototyping is the company’s 3D printing service
Here you can take your pick from 3D System’s broad array of printers and materials, producing functional test parts in as little as 24-hours. Extensive technical documentation helps you detect design flaws and choose the right material for your project.
Effectively a software company, Xometry leverages a US-wide network of manufacturing partners to offer instant quotes that are filterable by production method, material and lead time. With customers including Fortune 500 companies, the system brings together those in need of custom parts quickly, and workshops frustrated at unorganized inquiries that lead nowhere.
In addition to 3D printing services, users of Xometry can have parts CNC machined, wrought from sheet metal and injection molded.
One of the leading manufacturers of industrial 3D printers, Stratasys also offers a high-quality 3D printing service. Fittingly, Stratasys sports a dazzling assortment of materials, which are explained in detail on the company’s website.
This online 3D printing service is aimed at professionals in engineering, medicine, and industrial design fields. Another neat feature of its online quoting page is the ability to create and edit styles (consisting of the printing method, material, finishing, and surface treatment) that can be applied to successive projects.
It’s possible to generate a quote for SLS 3D prints online using Beta Layout’s price calculator, but really the company’s specialty comes in complementary technologies for functional prototypes using PCBs and enclosures. Perhaps most tantalizing of the company’s offerings is 3D mechatronic integrated devices — printed objects with integrated circuitry.
Based in Germany with a number of offices around the world, some services of Beta Layout’s have yet to make it to the US.
Treatstock is another web service that bundles the forces of 3D printing services all over the globe. Its instant quote system is very well designed, filtering out unsuitable provides as you choose the key criteria of your quote (such as international shipping, product application, and desired technology).
The second hat this online 3D printing service wears is that of a 3D model selling platform. Treatstock invites artists to open storefronts and upload their designs for customers to purchase and order 3D prints. What is more, Treatstock features a handful of apps on its website, enabling the creation of braille labels to make life easier for the visually impaired, plus relief 3D images based on photos.
Treatstock’s 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
Founded in 1999, UK-based Protolabs started as a software platform connecting mills and presses, automating the workflow for creating injection molded parts.
Since then the company has expanded into a robust manufacturing offering that includes a 3D printing service alongside CNC machining and its original specialization, injection molding.
Two pillars of the company’s work revolve around offering rapid prototyping facilitated by design analysis tools and quick turnarounds, and on-demand production fulfilling low-volume runs and use cases such as aluminum bridge tooling
iMakr is a reseller of 3D printers that operates two stores in London and New York. On its cheerful orange website, the company offers the full range of its expertise: It sells FFM and SLA printers from a multitude of manufacturers, as well as 3D scanners.
It is possible to request a quote for single and batch prints with iMakr, in addition to post-processing jobs. Note that there is up to a 12-hour wait for quote generation; not one for those in a hurry.
Star Rapid offers a wide range of prototyping services for professionals and ambitious hobbyists. The website includes detailed information on the available additive manufacturing technologies and finishing services.
Besides 3D printing, other techniques offered by this 3D printing service include plastic mold injection, CNC machining, pressure die casting and vacuum casting. So, this company is a candidate in case your needs go beyond rapid prototyping, with rapid tooling and low-volume manufacturing all a possibility. Also, the case studies are a worthwhile read and demonstrate what this company is capable of achieving.
Voodoo Manufacturing is based in Brooklyn and lends its 3D printing service for individual prints as well as for large-scale production. So far their portfolio has included projects such as printing off collectibles for popular TV shows and gear for a high-fashion show.
All prints are made using a massive fleet of MakerBot 3D printers. As of February 2018, Voodoo Manufacturing offers a large-format printing service powered by an array of Rais3D N2 Plus 3D printers — allowing for print jobs up to 60cm tall.
For those in need of 3D printed parts, pure and simple, online 3D printing service SD3D provides a convenient instant quoting tool. Parts can be ordered in four levels of quality to meet the needs of every stage in the design process — from rough, low-resolution drafts to ultra-fine pieces with barely perceptible layer lines. The prints can also be used for casting parts, this can come in handy when you want to produce prototypes on a small scale
Oakland-based online 3D printing service Fathom offers a wide array of 3D printing technologies and services dedicated to rapid prototyping, product realization and batch production.
Initially a reseller of PolyJet machines (later Stratasys PolyJet), Fathom expanded to offer industrial grade machines from other providers, scaling the service side accordingly.
Today Fathom leverages a number of fabrication tools, including 3D printing, alongside design and engineering services, training programs and providing staff for running in-house operations.
Though it’s possible to upload STEP, IGES and STL files to request a quote, Fathom’s On Demand Digital Manufacturing platform is the fully-featured aspect to the website, allowing for the upload of a wide number of file types and giving an easy overview of quotes and orders.
In addition to being a 3D printing service, Trinckle offers a marketplace to buy 3D printed goods, tools to check the structural integrity of your model (thereby saving time and money), plus detailed guides on the pros and cons of each material.
In recent years the company has developed a professional web-based automation system for the parametric design (and printing) of custom parts. Dubbed Paramate, the platform gives infinite flexibility for businesses to offer customers a bespoke part service, and industrial clients the ability to design and produce on the fly.
Trinckle’s 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
WhiteClouds is quite possibly the largest full-color 3D printing service in the world and is highly focused on B2B with its 3DyourPLAN, 3DyourMAP, and 3DyourSCAN service fronts. It cooperates with retailers and brands to create personalized action figures, medical models and topological and architectural scenes for professionals and consumers alike.
Its high-quality prints are produced on 3D Systems and Stratasys printers. WhiteClouds has set up 3DPedia, a glossary of terms connected to 3D printing. While WhiteClouds has a form to place orders, 3D prints are usually ordered and distributed through its affiliated retailers like Sandboxr.
3Diligent is a professional manufacturing network that, once signed up, allows businesses to post jobs and requirements. 3Diligent then leverages its wide network of partners (spanning manufacturing techniques and technologies beyond 3D printing) to bid and complete the job.
When requesting a quote, you state your budget, select the material, the process and other requirements of your project. If you are unsure which material or process is suitable for your design, the vendors can decide for you.
3Diligent also offers a knowledge center which provides concise information on printing methods and materials, as well as a series of videos that explain the order process.
Aimed at the needs of designers and consumers alike, Kraftwurx is an online 3D printing service that offers a plethora of materials (including precious metals). It also lets 3D designers showcase their talent and set up web stores that build on Kraftwurx’s infrastructure.
The industrial printers used by Kraftwurx are from 3D Systems, Stratasys, EOS, and others. Kraftwurx’s 3D printing facilities are spread over 125 locations across the globe, cutting delivery times and costs for shipping, freight duties, and tariffs. What is more, Kraftwurx is a strong supporter of social manufacturing: you can post a project that artists and designers can join and contribute toward.
Specializing in the 3D printing of nylon, and CNC-machining of steel and aluminum, Jawstec offers a tightly focused and professional service. HP certified using said company’s Multi-Jet Fusion additive manufacturing system, Jawstec claims to offer superior post-processing of MJF parts.
Similarly care for quality is offered across the company’s other wares, with post-processing to order a differentiator between Jawstec and other services.
Jawstec’s 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
Australia-based online 3D printing service 3D Print-Au places its 3D printers at the disposal of customers in Australia and New Zealand. Because of its pricing structure (charging for the bounding box rather than the material used), it claims it will beat the competition’s quotes.
This 3D printing service also promises to provide superior quality as every uploaded model is inspected before sending it off to the 3D printer. Also, 3D Print-Au accepts low volume production orders.
Offering a wide variety of manufacturing services, FacFox is one of China’s leading on-demand print services. The company tailors its services to a number of industries, including architecture, medical, retail, and design.
A simple online interface lets you quickly upload models, which will then be checked for printability (and automatically repaired if not) before payment. Live tracking of the print’s progress is a nice touch, and competitive international delivery often makes it a cost-effective alternative to some of the perhaps better-known services on this list.
FacFox’ 3D printing service can be accessed via Craftcloud.
Hailing from Eden Prairie, 3D Printing Ally prides itself on operating at the place where additive manufacturing was born in the 1980s. Its founder is an aerospace manufacturing professional, and as a result, the company has a firm grasp of the art. Although with a wide variety of additive manufacturing machines spanning numerous technologies and materials at its disposal, 3D printing Ally is well placed to serve a number of different industries’ requirements. The 3D printing service website boasts a very convenient instant quoting system and useful information on the available printing technologies and materials.
The philosophy underpinning online 3D printing service MeltWerk is to do one thing and to do one thing well. You can only print your objects in one color and one material, which is laser sintered white polyamide plastic. The upside to this approach is that MeltWerk is offering a best-price guarantee on their products. So, if after placing your order, you can find another 3D printing service that offers a better price for the same object and material, you’ll get a full refund. Those are the kind of consumer-friendly terms we can all get behind.
Hong Kong-based online 3D printing service HK3DPrint mostly produces prototyping architectural models, shipping them worldwide. This 3D printing service also offers cost-effective low volume production.
The website also sports a quick instant quote system and helpful documentation on 3D printing technology in general. Special colors and finishing are available on request.
Look out for the regular price specials on materials. Especially relevant for customers in the Hong Kong area, HK3DPrint offers a next day service.
Headquartered in Lyon, France, X3D Print offers a variety of 3D printing technologies alongside professional 3D scanning.
Complementary services include STL file analysis and repair and, for CAD users of Onshape, direct integration, meaning the direct ordering of printed parts is possible without leaving the program.
BuildParts’s website is a rich source of knowledge on printing technologies in general. It also features detailed technical specifications on the printers and materials available. This 3D printing service prints on some 30 machines, in over 50 materials using five different processes and offers fully finished and polished parts.
A product of CIDEAS Inc., BuildParts features an online order configurator called TrueQuote where you can upload models, specify materials, print resolution and generate a quote.
In case you don’t have a 3D file yet, BuildParts is happy to create one for you at a fixed hourly rate.
Incept3D is an online 3D printing service primarily aimed at the needs of engineers and designers. Its web page features some educational material on 3D printing.
The two methods of 3D printing used by Incept3D are FDM and SLA, facilitated by Stratasys Fortus and Formlabs Form 2 machines, respectively.
The production of medical facsimiles based on CT scan data is a specialization of Incept3D, and one that helps medical professionals plan surgeries or study rare medical conditions.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rapid3DParts self-proclaims it is the country’s “leading 3D printing service bureau”. Making use of a variety of machines, including 3D Systems VisiJet and MCOR SHD full-color printers, Rapid3DParts offers a modest, but useful array of materials for your prints.
Additional services include designing from briefs, laser cutting, and 3D scanning.
Polish 3D print service RapidCrafting offers a wide array of services including the preparation of CAD files for 3D printing. Using laser, contact, and photogrammetry technology, the company can also produce 3D scans of objects that can be processed further for 3D printing and rendering.
Another specialty of RapidCrafting is architectural scale models and illustrations. In addition, RapidCrafting is capable of low volume production. The industrial printers used by this 3D printing service are, among others, from 3D Systems.
The online 3D printing service PartSnap takes pride in being the only registered professional engineering firm that also offers in-house 3D printing services in North Texas. In-house capabilities include engineering, developing and prototyping parts all under one roof, thereby saving money for customers.
In addition to 3D printing on demand, PartSnap also offers reverse engineering services, possible up to parametric modeling; not to mention other additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques such as CNC, weldments, and extrusions.
When you upload your 3D file to a 3D printing service, you will get a quote – either instantly or by email. However, not all these service are transparent as to how 3D printing service prices are calculated.
Below, we have compiled a list of the most important factors that determine how 3D printing service prices are calculated. Some of them are obvious to anyone who as a 3D printer at home. Others are determined by the ways commercial providers operate.
To learn more about cutting 3D printing costs, read our article:
It is clear to anyone that the same item will be priced vastly differently if it’s printed in PLA or silver. Ideally, 3D printing services publish a list that reveals much a certain amount of the available materials costs. The material cost is calculated by multiplying it with the volume of the 3D file.
But other factors must be considered to understand how 3D printing service prices are calculated. For one, usually, parts are not printed as solid pieces. Instead, in FDM parts a certain amount of infill is used to balance strength with cost.
What is more, many 3D files with overhanging parts require support structures in order to be printable at all. The material spent on these supports must also be factored in to calculate 3D printing service prices.
Although 3D printing services are highly automated and use sophisticated software to facilitate every stage of production, there is still a lot of manual labor involved. For instance, after printing, the parts are cleaned, sorted and packaged. The cost of these labors is included in the “service fee” that is charged per item or order.
Another factor that must be considered to understand how 3D printing service prices are calculated is finishing. Dyeing, polishing is post-processes that help to get the most out of your 3D prints. However, since they are often done manually, they will increase the final cost.
What 3D printing services also include in their calculations of 3D printing service prices are costs involved with maintenance. This includes initial printer investment, electricity, depreciation, and failed prints. These costs are also included in the “service fee” that is charged per item or order. Another way that 3D printing services cover these costs is by charging a minimum price in case an order is below a certain value.
When setting up an order, you can sometimes tweak the printing speed by adjusting the layer height. Parts with bigger layer-heights will cost the printing service less time, and you can save a lot of money. So, by tweaking the resolution of your part, you can determine how 3D printing service prices are calculated.
The same applies to the amount of infill. Printing solid parts does not only increase the material cost, but also the time needed for printing.
In processes like SLS, the biggest driver of 3D printing cost is neither material nor labor, but machine space. 3D printing services stack models from various order together to print as many parts as possible in one build. Hollow parts can sometimes accommodate smaller parts. This process makes 3D printing more cost-effective for the 3D printing services. In turn, they pass on a part of the money they saved. So, the shape of your 3D file can directly influence how 3D printing service prices are calculated.
Of course it takes someone to deliver the finished piece to you. Companies like Shapeways, Sculpteo, and i.materialise are usually working with local subcontractors. The 3D printing file gets transferred to them; the file is then 3D printed and after successful completion – gets shipped.
It makes sense to take a look at shipping costs, as they can differ – some 3D printing services charge up to 100 percent more than others for handling and shipping.
To soften the blow dealt by costs some 3D printing services offer discounts. For instance, if you order multiple prints of the same part the price may decrease. Other services give discounts for students or offer loyalty programs. Look out for these discount to influence how 3D printing service prices are calculated.
License: The text of "34 Best Online 3D Printing Services in 2019" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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