For those of us who do not own a 3D printer, we still have the ability to use service providers such as Shapeways to take advantage of this incredible technology. Shapeways has quickly emerged as the number one consumer targeted 3D printing service provider, and sells thousands of 3D printed objects each month to customers around the globe.
In a world where we can log onto Amazon Prime and have a product shipped to us within 1-2 days for free, people have come to expect incredibly fast turnaround times when it comes to ordering online. Shapeways is a great service, but there is an area within their business model which many would agree could see improvement. They’re slow. For instance, certain materials offereed by the company have a production time as long as 12 days. This, combined with shipping times of two to nine days, can really equate to a lot of waiting.
This may all be about to change, however. This weekend, Shapeways announced the launch of ‘RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production‘ for their White Strong & Flexible plastic material.
“Have you ever wished your 3D prints would arrive faster? That you could order on a Tuesday and receive parts the same week? Today we have some very exciting news for you,” states the Shapeways blog.
The RUSH offering will initially launch as a pilot program, asking Shapeways’ users to sign up via a form. The company will regularly add groups of users to the pilot program and those users will be emailed once they are allowed in.
Currently the RUSH offering will be limited to objects printed within a bounding box of under 150 x 150 x 200mm with Shapeways’ White Strong & Flexible material. Any products ordered within North America, Australia or New Zealand will have a production time of 3 business days if the order is placed prior to 8am EDT. Those orders placed after this time will be counted as the following business day. This means that an order placed on Tuesday morning EDT will be shipped out by Friday. The news is even better for those outside of these three general areas. Customers within the RUSH program, who are located in any other geographic region of the world, will see production times of just 2 business days.
The speedy service is not free of charge, however. Shapeways will charge double what they typically do for objects printed with their White Strong & Flexible material which are not part of the RUSH program. The program is in an experimental phase, meaning that there may be glitches along the way. Shapeways urges those interested to make sure that they check the material status page prior to placing a RUSH order, to ensure that there is the capacity to handle the order.
It will be interesting to see if this program expands to other materials, and if the up-charge in price drops at all. Let us know if you have signed up for this pilot program, as well as your thoughts on this option in the Shapeways RUSH forum thread on 3DPB.com