Tag Archives: Netherlands

Interview with Protocow Founder On Finding the Next Shapeways 3D Printing Service

Protocow Wants to Help Smaller 3D Printing Services with New Software

Earlier this week, Protocow launched an e-commerce platform that enables 3D printing services to offer online quotes and order fulfillment.

This allows smaller 3D printing services to automatically process their online orders and compete on service with the larger companies such as Shapeways, Materialise and Sculpteo. Protocow offers this service for a low monthly fee and per-order commission.

Protocow logo

“Last year, $800 million was spent on objects that were 3D printed on a professional printer,” explained Protocow. “This market is growing 25% per year and 80% of this market is being produced by smaller 3D printing companies, including 500 such companies located in Europe. A lot of these companies handle their orders via email which is quite labor-intensive. Furthermore, it is discouraging for website visitors to order via personal contact such as email.”

Protocow’s solution is a plugin called the STL Harvester that can process 3D models and provide online pricing within 30 minutes. Watch the video below to see how the company describes its service.

Protocow is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and was founded by Harold van der Hoeven, John Tillema, Dimer Schaefer and Raymond Muilwijk. They have deployed the platform in The Netherlands and Belgium and are looking for funding to expand.

Interview with Protocow Founder

We sat down with Protocow co-founder Harold van der Hoeven to learn more about his business.

Protocow team

On 3D Printing: Tell us about your inspiration for the STL Harvester.

Protocow: The inspiration for developing the Harvester had its origin with two of our team members, John Tillema and Dimer Schaefer. They are industrial designers by profession. On a regular basis they were facing the fact that Materialise and Shapeways could not fulfill their service- , budget- or delivery needs. And although smaller 3D print service are more flexible, they do not offer online quoting and ordering. Asking them why, they answered it is to expensive and complex to develop this software for themselves. So we decided to do that for them.

On 3D Printing: When did you start the company and what are the key milestones you have hit?

Protocow: We started the company almost a year ago (December 2012). We have worked on this beside our regular business in evenings and weekends and we love our wives for all the support we received.

We have hit a few milestones. First we did test the concept with several 3D print services. They helped us with several insights which we used to improve our formula, the contact options with options during the ordering process and the additional techniques we did not yet cover. We are proud that importers of 3D print machines embraced our online platform because it is good for the revenue of their customers (and therefor for them).  We also found out that it is possible to calculate a fair price for a 3D print using different (more) variables then the larger companies who already have online quotation and ordering.

On 3D Printing: Who are your customers? Your video says “3D printing services”. Can you give us some examples or help provide some size estimates of the total number of companies that could benefit from your product?

Protocow: Our customers are professional 3D print services. We calculated that there are approximately 500 professional 3D print services in Europe who do not offer online quotation and ordering tot their website visitors.


Learn more at www.protocow.com.

Fab Lab of the Week: Fablab Amsterdam in the Netherlands

Fablab Amsterdam 3D Printing

This week’s featured Fab Lab is called Fablab Amsterdam in the Netherlands. They are offering classes on how to build your own 3D printer.

Fablab Amsterdam offers you the opportunity to build your personal 3D printer and learn all there is to know about 3D printing. After an introduction of the Fablab and the basics of 3D printing, you will learn how to set up a model for printing (day 1). In the next three days you will build your own printer, this is a model based on Orca (RepRap Mendel). On the last day (day 5) you will be printing your model(s) and get a hands-on troubleshooting on operating your 3D printer.

The summer school is available for maximum of 16 participants. You are to bring your own laptop and a 3D model, that you would like to print. Summer school only continues when it has at least 8 participants!

When? From 6 to 10 August 2012, 10.00 AM till 18.00 PM

Where? Fablab Amsterdam, Nieuwmarkt 4, 1012 CR Amsterdam

Learn more about Fablab Amsterdam from Fablab.nl or this article.

Fab Lab photo by TonZ used under Creative Commons license.

Crafting the Future: Dutch Arts Combine 3D Printing and Textiles [Video]

Dutch Arts 3D Printing

At the Dutch Electronic Art Festival (DEAF), a workshop was held on 3D printing and textiles, to explore the combination of both techniques. During this 1.5 day workshop participants created many samples of truly integrated ‘fabric 3D prints’.

The Ultimaker team (NL) and the Smart Textiles Design Lab team (SE) were sponsors of this event.

The video below shows the participants crafting the future with 3D printing.

Leapfrog Launches New 3D Printer Line in Europe

Netherlands-based Leapfrog launched a new 3D printer line in Europe. There are two models: the Creatr for € 1250 and the Xeed for € 4920. Both printers should be ready to ship by May 2012.

Leapfrog lists their mission statement as:

The purpose of Leapfrog is to bridge the gap between the current state of technology of 3D printers and the future of 3D printing as a whole. We aim to deliver very easy to use, plug and play devices that look awesome. Our drive is to become a worldwide recognized brand name, capitalizing on the high growth in the market for 3D printing and to take 3D printing to the next level. We strive to deliver devices which make a high quality of printed product available to a much broader customer base at an affordable price. You, the customer are central and should not have to deal with understanding the technology, letting you what you do best: designing and creating new cool things.