Tag Archives: Ultimaker
3D Printing Network Shares 3D Printer Usage Across 200 Cities
3D Hubs, the world’s largest network of 3D printers with over 1,100 printing locations across 200 cities, has publicly shared a report of how 3D printing is being used and which 3D printers, materials and colors are most popular.
“3D printing is a disruptive technology that people are beginning to embrace, and given our unique position within the sector, we thought it would be interesting to highlight emerging trends we’ve started to see on the 3D Hubs network,” said Brian Garret, CTO and co-founder of 3D Hubs.
Out of 1,100 printers in the 3D Hubs network, Ultimaker and MakerBot are the brands signed up most. Ultimaker is taking the lead in Europe and MakerBot in the USA. They are mainly used to make prototypes and all kinds of gadgets, such as customized smartphone and camera cases. White is the preferred color, followed by blue, red and green.
Highlights of the 3D Hubs Trend Report
Sourcing from their actual order data, 3D Hubs has given the market insight into actual 3D printing activity. Here are some highlights:
- 3D printer brands: Ultimaker and MakerBot currently account for a combined 40.4 percent of the more than 1,100 3D printers on the 3D Hubs network, followed by RepRap (11 percent) and Prusa Mendel (7.3 percent) amongst others. MakerBot leads in the United States and Ultimaker leads in Europe.
- Prototypes: The number one use case is still prototypes, however more and more end products have begun to be printed. Gadgets, phone accessories, gifts, toys and fashion items like jewelry currently make up more than half of the platforms’ print jobs.
- Colors and materials: Given that desktop printers represent 90 percent of the 3D Hubs network, it is not surprising that plastics like ABS and PLA make up about 80 percent of the 3D printer materials available. Other popular materials include nylon, wood and flexible rubber-like materials. Customers can order these materials in a variety of different colors, however, white is currently the most offered color (15.7 percent), followed by blue (14.5 percent), red (14.1 percent), and green (12.9 percent). More exotic colors are also being offered including gold, silver and glow-in-the-dark colors.
You can quickly browse through the charts in the report below, or read the full 3D Hubs Trend Report at http://www.3dhubs.com/trends.
How 3D Hubs Works
The majority of 3D printer owners use their device less than 10 hours a week, and 3D Hubs harnesses the remaining 95 percent idle time. Printer owners earn money when their 3D printer is not in use, and simultaneously establish social connections within their local 3D maker community.
3D printer owners simply join the Hubs listing in their city to offer 3D printing services in their neighborhood. Each Hub decides how much money it wants to earn, and sets its own start-up price for a 3D print, plus additional fee charges for each cubic centimeter of material used.
3D Hubs performs a 3D model repair check using Netfabb cloud software for each order to ensure the uploaded 3D-model is watertight, automatically repairs it if necessary, and once the 3D-model passes inspection, the order is processed and forwarded to the Hub. 3D Hubs adds a 15 percent commission (excluding any applicable taxes) on top of the price entered for each customer quote, processes the order, and collects the payment.
Customers use 3D Hubs to locate 3D printer owners in their neighborhood, and then order and pick up sustainable, locally printed objects in a matter of days instead of weeks – something that sets 3D Hubs apart from centralized 3D printing services.
Based in Amsterdam and founded in April 2013 by two former 3D Systems employees, 3D Hubs is a privately held company backed by Balderton Capital and Rockstart Accelerator.
Watch this video to learn more about how 3D Hubs works:
Sam Abbott Wins 3D Printing Design Competition, Then 3D Prints Skateboard
Soon after, Sam took a more ambitious project, designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed twin tip skateboard.
“There were published more than 250 3D models prepared for 3D printing from the May through June 2013,” CGTrader said in an interview with On 3D Printing. “Sam’s models are various and easy printable. From phone covers, jewelery to statues and other objects. Sam was the winner of 3D Printable Portfolio – that means he had to upload more models than others and the quality very important. He met these two requirements and won his Ultimaker.”
3D Printing a Skateboard
Sam’s next project was a 3D printed skateboard. Here’s a video of his 3D printing and assembly process.
We also caught up with the designer himself, Sam Abbott, in an exclusive interview.
On 3D Printing: How did you come up with the idea for a 3D printed skateboard?
Sam Abbott: I created the Skateboard design out of curiosity after designing many small items for 3d printing things like phone covers, jewelery, light shades etc. I was interested in print costs, print time functionality of the materials for a large design in 3d printing. Also I always loved to skate and so it was just an obvious choice to me to do a skateboard file. The form and aesthetics of the design were inspired from my memories of graffiti and street art from a recent visit to Gent, Belgium. Its 3D Geometry constructed in a way to add grip for grabs and less surface contact for grinds/slides.
On 3D Printing: Tell us about your experience of entering, and winning, the CGTrader competition?
Sam Abbott: Entering any competition is exciting as its a great way to see what others are doing and producing! It has the excitement of a lottery especially when the prizes are as awesome as what was awarded in this one. It has been an unbelievable experience to win the competition held by CGTrader. The competition the members of staff the platform to sell my files from has just been awesome and extremely helpful!
On 3D Printing: What do you plan to do with your Ultimaker 3D printer?
Sam Abbott: I am trained in SLS printing that is my expertise and so there is lots of learning, experiments and fine tuning to be done with the Ultimaker, as it build’s a 3d file in a different method requiring a different design approach. However I have successfully printed many of my rings, a phone cover, some vases, some technical parts for the printer itself and a mini version of my skateboard the size of a usb stick. I am currently working on a design to say thank you to everyone at CGTrader!
We can’t wait to see the next design from Sam.
Crowdfunding Campaign to End Manual Polishing for 3D Printing
One of the less publicized aspects of 3D printing, specifically FDM, is the tedious work required after you press “print” with your MakerBot, Printrbot, Ultimaker, or any other 3D printer. Every 3D printer has a defined resolution, which is the thickness of each layer. Typical desktop 3D printers have a resolution of around 100 to 200 microns. The result looks like the image below, visible horizontal lines in the finished product.
To smooth out these lines, advanced 3D printing enthusiasts typically use a sanding technique followed by polishing. Remember, with many desktop 3D printers, the material used is ABS plastic. It is soft enough to smooth out, but requires this manual effort.
Introducing The Touch-Up
3D Customization Co. has developed a product that employs a new technique for smoothing and finishing 3D prints without the manual effort. The product is called The Touch-Up, and 3D Customization Co. has launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to raise $5,000.
We interviewed CEO Westley Harrell about The Touch-Up.
On 3D Printing: What is The Touch-Up?
Westley Harrell: The Touch-Up is a product used to smooth and polish rough edges due to the 3D Printing process. Achieve amazing results using various print layers. Imagine a finish you can see yourself in! Literally! Stop wasting time hand sanding and hand polishing your 3D printed ABS models. Let The Touch-Up do it for you! This product allows you to get professional looking models faster by letting The Touch-Up smooth your print for you while another model prints. We found that when using MakerBot’s ABS filament, we were able to get faster polishing times with a great overall consistency with each model polished. (Same filament used in our video and pictures)
I used to spend a lot of time finishing my models after they were printed to get a really clean and smooth surface. I tried different techniques from spray enamel to dipping the part in different chemicals. It took months until I figured out the best method for polishing 3D printed ABS models. That was to submerse the ABS model in Acetone vapor. From that came the idea of vapor sanding and The Touch-Up was conceived.
Anyone who uses ABS to 3D Print will find The Touch-Up a great addition to their 3D Printing Arsenal. We made it easy to use and easy to clean so anyone who 3D Prints could use it.
On 3D Printing: Why are you turning to IndieGoGo for funding?
Westley Harrell: We chose IndieGoGo because we wanted to make The Touch-Up available to anyone, anywhere. This campaign also helps provide funding for upgrades and will help us move forward with this product. Also through this 30-day campaign we will be able to identify the need for this product, and determine how much time should be invested in bringing this product forward to consumers in the future. This is just the first project we are bringing to the public. We want to identify which product is in the highest demand.
Origins of Acetone Vapor Bath in the Maker Community
While The Touch-Up is the first commercialized product to use an acetone vapor bath, the origins of this technique look to be from the Maker community. In February 2013, Austin Wilson posted on his blog about a new technique that he and his friend Neil Underwood were developing to polish 3D printed objects using acetone vapor baths.
Neil also posted his results on the RepRap blog. Neil explained his inspiration:
Treating ABS parts with acetone is almost as old as RepRap itself, but usually this has involved either dipping the part into liquid acetone, which causes white streaks in the parts, or brushing the acetone onto the part with a slurry mix, which can work very well but tends to be a messy process.
I have seen several setups out there, one by the Solidoodle Folks that involved a deep fryer, ice, tubing, and a candy thermometer, or completely passive systems that just used unheated acetone like TBuser of Makerbot did.
Unlike the other experiments, Neil and Austin heated the acetone in a closed chamber. The results were impressive.
In March, Wired magazine published a feature about Neil and Austin and their vapor bath technique. With the additional exposure of their approach came a new caveat:
Anyone interested in trying this should take care. Wilson says points out that acetone isn’t especially dangerous, but it has to be handled carefully since the vapor can catch fire if exposed to sparks or flames.
If you like this idea and want to help fund the first commercial product to use acetone vapor baths to polish 3D printed objects, go check out The Touch-Up at IndieGoGo.
Competition Ends June 30 – Win an Ultimaker 3D Printer from CGTrader
As we reported in may, 3D model marketplace CGTrader is hosting a 3D printing competition, looking for innovative 3D printable models. Winning submissions will receive great prizes, including two Ultimaker 3D printers, 3D prints, gift cards from Sculpteo, Filaco, Stash, as well as an opportunity to sell designs in 3D printing store iMakr in London
In order to participate, designers need to create 3D printable models in .STL format and upload them for sale or download to CGTrader. Further information on the competition is available here: http://www.cgtrader.com/
The competition ends June 30, so submit your designs in the next 3 days!
Want to learn more? Read our full interview with the CGTrader team published in May 2013.
3D Printing News
A roundup of the top 3D printing news from May 28 to June 1:
Tuesday, May 28
Wednesday, May 29
Friday, May 31
- ModelBox 3D: Artists Launch Kickstarter to Bring 2D Images to Life
- 3D Printing is Now – Perspective of a Dad Entrepreneur
Saturday, June 1