In the past few years, 3D Hubs has grown into quite a phenomenon. Beginning with the mission to link 3D printers to the people who need them, the network has grown into a large international one, now registering 23,069 desktop 3D printers (and probably more by the time you read that!). This hasn’t happened overnight. In a recent article, I reviewed co-founder Bram de Zwart’s strategies for growing 3D Hubs into such a large network. It started off with a bare bones platform, created an ambassador program so local hubs would have representatives, and outreach to 3D printing companies helped get the big players on board. The final strategy was to “become an industry thought leader.” I wrote that 3D Hubs’ collection of data through its Monthly Report allowed them to track consumer behavior for the whole industry, contributing “important data to profile growing industry trends and the needs of 3D printing customers.” Well, today’s news from 3D Hubs reveals that the company is still taking customers’ needs seriously: 3D Hubs is evolving its platform to include high-end industrial-grade 3D printers!
That’s right. If you are an architect or product designer with the need to print larger, detailed, high-quality prototypes, this is now be possible with the addition of 37 industrial-size 3D printers. And the system remains as simple as uploading a file and choosing a hub. Brian Garret, co-founder of 3D Hubs, explains the idea further:
“Through unlocking this tier of industrial-grade materials, we are now able to offer an end-to-end solution to our customers both large and small. By combining affordable desktop production with high-end industrial-grade services, the full spectrum of 3D printing is now becoming accessible.”
The program works by awarding a “3D Hubs HD” badge to approved industrial-grade printers and then it “will focus on direct communication with 3D Hubs customers to ensure accurate production and fast turnaround times.” The first group of industry leaders to make industrial-grade 3D printing locally available includes i.materialise, Sculpteo and NRI.
Strong and Flexible Nylon kicks the program off because it is popular for both product designers and architects and is 3D printed through the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) additive manufacturing process. Naturally, 3D Hubs plans to unveil more HD materials over the next few months, and add more locations to the new HD network as well.
In order to launch the program and encourage people to use the service, 3D Hubs is offering a 30% discount to artists, designers, architects, and engineers through the end of October 2015. Also, in true 3D Hubs fashion, a series of design workshops will be offered worldwide to help designers perfect their HD printing skills. This series begins with a “3D Printing for Designers and Architects” event in London on October 28, 2015.
If you have been waiting to access industrial-grade 3D printers in the straightforward process that is the hallmark of 3D Hubs’ success, then the time is now. You can go over to the 3D Hubs HD page and get started by claiming your 30% discount coupon.
Let us know if you’ve used any of these new machines in the 3D Hubs HD network. Discuss in the 3D Hubs HD forum thread on 3DPB.com.