These days, 3D printing is advancing faster then ever. People are interacting with the technology more and more, using it in countless new and creative ways. Whether it’s making a small-scale figurine, a single spare part, an industry-grade prototype, or even a production run, 3D printing’s impact on the manufacturing industry is continuously increasing.
In many cases, that’s thanks to 3D printing services, which produce and deliver desired parts with a wide range of options and professional quality. In the following, we’ll introduce some of the largest 3D printing services in the UK, discussing their techniques, prices, materials, and other useful details.
Keep in mind that the services presented here are made up of those actually based in the UK. As such, you won’t see any large name services that deliver to but aren’t based in the UK.
Lancashire3D is, as they claim themselves, the UK’s largest prototype and serial production 3D printing studio. Based in Preston, Lancashire, they specialize in FDM and SLA 3D printing, offering a range of different materials compatible with the two technologies, such as tough resins and engineering grade PLA.
The 3D printer farm powering Lancashire3D’s service is capable of handling small and big volume orders, with a capacity of over 1.4 million cubic centimetres. This equates to smaller production as well as runs up to 5,000 parts.
Regarding the prices, Lancashire3D requires a minimum of £25 on FDM orders and a minimum of £35 on SLA orders.
Speaking of pricing, we should mention that Lancashire3D’s quote generator isn’t instant, taking up to a day for their team to send you a quote. This may come as a surprise to those familiar with other 3D printing services, which often have the ability to generate the price within seconds. It’s not all that big of a deal – just something to be aware of.
Lancashire3D have partnered up with UK’s Parcelforce Worldwide to provide delivery to customers all around the world. Free delivery is applied on all UK orders above £100.
In terms of reachability, it’s possible to reach out to Lancashire3D via a contact form or via phone.
3DPrintUK is a UK-based 3D printing service dedicated to working with SLS. With their facilities located approximately 35 miles from London, 3DPrintUK is UK’s leader when it comes to SLS 3D printing. The website claims they’ve printed well over 1 million parts in total, and that’s a lot.
Whether you’re looking to make a one-off print, a prototype, or even a batch production run, 3DPrintUK has you covered. The company’s website alone gives you the feeling they know what they’re doing, being a pleasure to browse and navigate.
Users can upload their files onto 3DPrintUK’s website and choose finishing options and quantities. The quotation process is simple and fast, while the minimum order is set to the value of £40 plus VAT.
Apart from great part quality and fast lead times, what makes 3DPrintUK special is their work on bespoke 3D printing projects. We’ll explain how it works using an example:
Let’s say you’re running an automotive magazine that hosts an awards event for the best cars in their respective categories. This year, you’ve decided to create special, bespoke awards, to make the event a notch more interesting. Remember, you don’t have the skills of working with CAD software, and nor do you have access to professional 3D printers.
Well, this is where 3DPrintUK comes in, taking care of the process from start to finish. They’ll create custom CAD models for your awards, print them on their high-end industrial SLS 3D printers, and deliver them to your doorstep. The idea behind it all is to provide customers the ability to easily turn their ideas into reality at a reasonable cost.
As we just mentioned delivery, it’s worth saying that, while 3DPrintUK arranges delivery for UK-based customers, they also offer international shipping. If you’d like to contact 3DPrintUK, you can do it either via their contact form or over the phone.
And finally, let’s talk about pricing. To see the differences in pricing, we requested quotes from both 3DPrintUK and Sculpteo. For this, the same model was used, using the same material, nylon.
3DPrintUK quoted us £92.12, while Sculpteo quoted €101.24, which is around £91. This would seem to indicate that the UK company’s prices are compatible with other big competitors in the space of 3D printing services. Fair play.
Protolabs is a UK company in operation since 1999. Their 20 years of experience in manufacturing includes technologies like injection moulding, CNC machining, and 3D printing.
Protolabs’s 3D printing service is mostly used by professionals who need rapid prototype production or small manufacturing runs. Customers can choose between five different 3D printing technologies available: SLA, SLS, DMLS, Multi Jet Fusion, and PolyJet.
Protolabs’s website features a fast and easy-to-use quote generator. And on that note, let’s discuss pricing. For comparison purposes, we decided to compare Protolabs’ quotes with Sculpteo’s:
Uploading the same file and selecting the same 3D printing technology (SLS) and material (PA12 White Nylon), Protolabs quoted us £86.66 and Sculpteo quoted €32.56. That’s quite a difference, right?
The thing is, Protolabs charges more when you request the manufacturing of a single part. When you add up the quantity of parts to, for example, 5 samples, the price suddenly becomes competitive, with £165.26 from Protolabs compared to €157.92 from Sculpteo. Already at this scale, the price range is pretty similar.
Finally, with efficient 3D printers and fast delivery, Protolabs’s customers get their parts to their doorstep in a matter of days.
Feature image source: protolabs.co.uk
Print My Part is a UK-based company offering services in the fields of 3D design and 3D printing. The company’s main focus is to enable everyone to quickly transform their ideas into real products. With respect to 3D printing, Print My Part offers customers the choice of FDM, SLA, and Multi Jet Fusion.
Although users can request quotes for their parts via their website, the quotes are not generated instantly. Instead, users need to wait in order for Print My Part to get back in touch with the quote.
The other business aspect of Print My Part is 3D design. If a customer doesn’t have a 3D model of the desired part, the company’s specialists can produce the 3D model from sketches. Apart from 3D modeling from sketches, they also offer a reverse engineering service.
Parts made by Print My Part are quickly delivered to the customer’s doorstep. International shipping is possible and if you’re based in the UK, you can expect your parts to be delivered the day after production is complete.
As we couldn’t get an instant quote, we weren’t able to make a direct price comparison with other 3D printing services. However, the company claims that their pricing is highly competitive.
Looking to get in touch with Print My Part? You can do it via email.
3D Print Direct’s quotation process works very well and quickly. When a user uploads a 3D model, the quote is generated in a matter of seconds. In order to determine how competitive 3D Print Direct’s pricing is, we again made a comparison with Sculpteo. To make the comparison 100% fair game, we uploaded the same 3D model and selected the same material, which was standard SLS nylon.
3D Print Direct quoted us £41.57 (including the 20% tax, excluding shipping), which is around €45, while Sculpteo quoted €40, including shipping. That’s quite close, meaning that 3D Print Direct indeed offers competitive prices.
Naturally, 3D Print Direct takes care of the delivery of your parts, regardless of where you’re based. Naturally, UK residents can expect their parts to arrive quicker.
All in all, 3D Print Direct is a highly professional service and a great choice for anyone who needs high quality parts made in a short amount of time. Despite all that, what we don’t like is that there’s no contact info listed on the website. We therefore assume contact details are given to the customer when he or she makes a purchase.
Although this article’s main focus is on 3D printing services located in the UK, there’s always the option to have designs printed via globally-operating online 3D printing services, like Shapeways, Sculpteo, and i.Materialise.
Unsure about which to use? Then check out Craftcloud, All3DP’s 3D printing and price comparison service. Using your designs and location, we offer real-time prices from major global and local providers, instantly finding the best price for your needs.
License: The text of "How to Find a 3D Printing Service in the UK" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.