Los Angeles-based filament provider 3D Printlife can normally be seen in the 3D printing headlines because of its eco-friendly filaments. Back in 2014, the company partnered with Sierra Resins to create a 3D bioplastic filament, which the two introduced at CES 2015. 3D Printlife was at CES 2017 recently, but instead of unveiling any new filaments at the Las Vegas tech show, the company announced that it had launched a 3D printing social support network. This newly developed platform is called Life Support. So not only is the company committed to reducing the environmental impact of 3D printing, they also want to teach people how to better use the technology.
Very different from the types of support that normally come to mind when you talk about 3D printing, Life Support isn’t about 3D printing support materials, but is actually a global tech support referral site for everything related to 3D printing. 3D Printlife’s new platform lets users connect with 3D printing experts, or Techs, either in their area or around the world, for on-demand, on-site technical 3D printing support. The intention of Life Support is to ease some of the stress of providing support that burdens many large and small 3D printer manufacturers. Life Support users are able to search for available techs through a number of factors: the type of service they need, a Tech’s rating or area of expertise, and where they are located. Tech support categories are wide-ranging, including 3D printer installation, calibration, repair, CAD, slicing, and even choosing filament. Later, users can rate their experience, “stimulating the quality of the interaction between those providing service and those receiving it.”
In addition to the users looking for help, Life Support can also offer 3D printing experts “a way to monetize their 3D printing experience.” The company is currently looking for such experts who want to help out the 3D printing community by providing tech support to area end users. Techs who sign up to be available on Life Support choose their own rates, sort of like how the Threedigo sharing platform works for people who want to rent out their 3D printers. They also decide how they will provide that support: via Skype or phone, other forms of media, or even on-site help. Techs will have their own Life Support profile page, where they can accurately detail their availability and 3D printing expertise.
Life Support Techs will not have any transaction or processing fees for services they provide, and can negotiate rates and send invoices directly. Also, any Techs who are based in the US will also receive special discounts from 3D Printlife: 5% off of all 3D printers, and 10% off of all 3D Printlife filaments! As of right now, it is free to register and create a Tech profile on Life Support, but that will change this summer. After June 1st, 2017, 3D Printlife is asking its Techs to subscribe to keep their profiles, in order to help pay for site maintenance and advertising. Subscription fees can be as little as $1.99 a month, and Techs will not be charged until June 1st; 3D Printlife discounts will be available prior to this date. There are also three separate membership plans available, starting at an $8.99 payment every three months to $23.99 yearly.
3D Printlife is working with several major 3D printer manufacturers already, getting them to direct some of their tech support questions to the Life Support platform. The company is even collaborating with the manufacturers they represent on ways to create both online and in-person certification and training programs for the Life Support Techs, so they are able to learn more about the 3D printers they will potentially be helping out with. If you’re interested in becoming a Life Support Tech for 3D Printlife, visit the website to register now. Discuss in the 3D Printlife forum at 3DPB.com.