3D printing is a unique technology — a technology that may not be made for everyone, though. While it still remains in its infancy as far as potential uses go, more and more small businesses and individuals are finding ways to utilize desktop 3D printers. Whether it is prototyping a design idea, completing a school project, or making a one-of-a-kind keepsake for a loved one, the technology certainly is something that just about anyone could find a use for. The only problem though, is the fact that not everyone wants to learn the ins and outs of running and maintaining the actual hardware.
This is where a company called 3D Hubs has made a name for itself. 3D Hubs is pretty much exactly what its name says. It’s a hub where 3D printer owners can be paired up with those looking to use 3D printers, but who don’t feel like purchasing or operating the printers themselves. In the past two years, 3D Hubs has gone from an unknown startup to one of most well-known services within the 3D printing space. All of this has happened with little to no competition.
“MMF Connect is a new way to link designers with makers,” the company explains. “In the ever expanding world of 3D printing, we understand how important is for those who want to be able to print their work (or someone else’s) to have reliable and easy access to a 3D printer near them.”
The service is very similar to what 3D Hubs currently offers. Users can login via the website, and then enter their location. Designers can find 3D printers in their local vicinity, and once they do they can request to have a design 3D printed for them. However, where MMF Connect differs from 3D Hubs is in the fact that designers can also list themselves on the site, along with their location and skills. This means that if someone wishes to have a 3D printable object designed, they can easily find someone in their area to do so. Then if they wish to have that design 3D printed, they can either do so on their own 3D printer or again use the service to find a 3D printer in their area as well.
It doesn’t end there though, as MMF Connect also looks to become a bit of a community in and of itself, allowing makers, designers and contractors to chat with one another and exchange ideas.
“If you’re looking for custom design work, or want to chat with a designer or maker about what it is that they do, connect with them through MMF,” explains a representative from MyMiniFactory. “This is a great way to open up channels of collaboration.”
It should be interesting to see just how well this catches on. 3D Hubs has already established themselves as the leaders of this space, but MMF Connect offers some new features as well. It doesn’t appear as though they are looking to compete with 3D Hubs, but instead, simply provide their user community with more options.
What do you think about the launch of MMF Connect? Discuss in the MMF Connect forum thread on 3DPB.com.