About 2 years ago I purchased a 3D printer from an unamed company. When the machine arrived at my door, I opened the box expecting to begin printing within a few minutes. Unfortunately though, all I ran into were problems. From leveling the bed, to a small wire that came disconnected in the shipping process, I was set back an entire week and a half before I actually 3D printed my first object. I found that it was extremely difficult to get in touch with anyone who actually knew about the technical aspects of the machine I owned, and found the fact that it was impossible to get quality support, very frustrating.
Apparently I’m not the only one that feels this way, and thankfully one man, named Chris Santiago wants to fix this problem. This is why yesterday, he officially launched an Indiegogo campaign for his new company, 3D Build Club.
While the desktop 3D printing space is divided into two types of people — those who prefer to buy their printers already assembled, directly from a company, and those who prefer to either build their own machines from scratch or purchase a printer in kit form — 3DBuildClub understands that there is something missing. That “something” is the combination of quality hardware and great support.
“There are many great 3D printer designs and companies today,” Santiago explains. “The problem is that, even with the large number of 3D printers on the market, support is still lacking. Companies may not have the budget or the know-how to support their own product. Great engineers and designers make great machines, but that does not mean that they are great at support. Regardless, the average consumer is often left frustrated and without adequate help.”
This is where 3DBuildClub comes into play. It is basically a resource directed at anyone and everyone interested in owning a 3D printer, but unwilling to pay the hefty prices for a machine, and tired of below average customer support. Santiago’s company, instead, is a membership based program that aims at bringing knowledge and affordable high quality parts and components to their members in order to allow them to build their own custom 3D printers.
For the Indiegogo campaign, in which Santiago is looking to raise $15,432, 1-year memberships are being offered for just $59, and 2-year memberships are just $89. So what exactly will this membership get you? To start off, all members have free access to 3D printer build plans and instructions, which include comprehensive guides and tutorial videos, as well as 24/7 forum support and live chats. In additional to this, because of Santiago’s experience in building 3D printers and sourcing parts, he is also able to provide members with discount pricing on the very parts and components they will need in order to build their machine.
Within days of the campaign ending, 3DBuildClub will officially launch, and with the launch will soon come the very first 3D printer build package, which includes the aforementioned tutorials, videos, guides, discounted parts and more. The tutorials and guides not only include instructions on building a 3D printer, but they go in-depth on the electronics, the hardware, the configuration, software setup/use, troubleshooting and more. Basically, the goal is to teach members everything they need to know in order to build their own quality 3D printers.
“We are not selling a 3D printer or machine, we are selling something more powerful — knowledge,” explained Santiago. “Through knowledge building and mentorship, we will make it possible for all of our members to build quality 3D machines. As a member, you will have access to an exclusive forum, build instructions, and products made just for 3DBuildClub.com members. You will not only learn how to build multiple machines, you will learn how to become an effective operator.”
While no official list of the actual 3D printer builds that will be available has been completed just yet, Santiago says that a few of the potential 3D printer/machine builds include: a small portable 3D printer, a large printer, a kid-friendly printer, both delta and Cartesian based printers, DLP printers, and even CNC routers and Laser Engravers, since their mechanics are so similar to those of 3D printers.
The idea that Santiago has, is one unlike anything we have ever seen before. His business plan is one which doesn’t look to profit off of selling hardware, but rather relies on membership dues. Members, in return, get high quality support — something lacking within the 3D printing space. It should be interesting to follow this campaign and see what comes out of 3DBuildClub in the future. Check out the video below.