If you can’t own a 3D printer, and if you don’t even know how to design something in a 3D modelling program, then 3D printing companies can satisfy your curiosity.
The really awesome thing is that top 3D printing companies don’t limit themselves to just this. They offer other 3D printing services besides paying for a 3D object. If you’re a designer, and you know your way around AutoCAD, and such, you can sell your projects on a few 3D printing companies. You get your fair share of money, and the 3D printing company does the rest a.i manufacturing, distribution, and customer service.
There are public 3D printing companies, and even 3D hubs where the 3D print enthusiasts can ask questions, and discuss everything 3D-print related. And then there are some 3D printing networks that are off the books, mainly because their priority is secrecy.
Using a 3D printing service isn’t that expensive, but you might want to think twice before you order something out of sheer impulse.
If you want 3D printing to become your new hobby, I recommend you get to know what the whole shebang is all about. Read our introduction to 3D printing – 3D Printers – How do 3D Printers Work? All You Need to Know!
The thing is, there are so many 3D printing companies out there that offer the same services, that it becomes quite hard to make a proper round-up list. The best 3D printing companies can be seen just down below.
The Top 3D Printing Companies
Shapeways is one of the top public 3D printing companies, and is considered one of the best in the industry. They opened their doors in 2007, and only two years after, in 2009, they had 90 employees, and they were moving their headquarters to New York from The Netherlands.
They currently have offices in Eindhoven, New York, and Seattle.
Shapeways witnessed so much success because it knew from the get-go what 3D printing enthusiasts want. 3D designers wanted an online platform to sell their projects. Users who didn’t want to invest in a home 3D printer wanted a cheap way to make their virtual projects come to reality.
Who doesn’t want for somebody else to take care of production costs, and distribution hassles?
Shapeways offers a dizzying variety of 3D printed objects like drone parts, robotics, key chains, belt buckles, miniature trains, and even jewelry – and a ton more.
Fancy a 3D printed bow-tie? You got it sir, or madame!
Ponoko follows the Shapeways model – sort of.
You upload your 3D print project to their website, pay the man, and they’ll use a network of 3D printers in order to manufacture your desired product. They mainly look for the closest one near you.
This type of thing is called on-demand manufacturing, and it avoids unnecessary production costs. They don’t print anything to show-case, but only when somebody needs something.
Ponoko has offices in the US, New Zealand, Germany, and the UK.
They mainly look for 3D printers, but don’t shy away from CNC milling machines, or laser cutting techniques.
Sculpteo is one of my favorite 3D printing companies, solely because I’ve had an awesome 3D print service experience with them.
Their main goal is to offer customers the possibility of buying things especially built for them, and not in huge batches in factories.
Sculpteo works like previously discussed 3D printing companies. Someone uploads a design on their website, and the customer can jump in straight away and buy the print. Sculpteo takes care of manufacturing, and shipping. Everybody is happy.
Sculpteo launched in 2009, and in 2011 they opened their doors to 3D printing services. Customers can choose an option they call 3D Batch Control, and they can pick how large their desired 3D printed object should be, what color, and most importantly, from what material it should be built – plastic, brass, or ceramic, and it doesn’t limit customers to only this.
The Dutch-based 3D Hubs, which has its HQ in Amsterdam is basically a humongous network of 10,000 3D printers, scattered across 8,500 locations in 140 countries.
About 1 billion humans can get their projects printed within 10 miles of their home.
3D Hubs is the middleman between the user who wants a product, and those who are offering the service. They keep track of every transaction, and connect people easily, and without the hassle of going through The Yellow Pages Of 3D Printing.
The company has it’s main HQ in Amsterdam, but in August of 2014, it opened an office in New York. The Big Apple is the place to be if you’re into 3D printing – it has more than 1000 3D printing pros, and over 200 3D printers at your disposal.
The 3D printing craze is pretty huge in Europe, and the US. It’s starting to take a huge leap in Russia, Australia, Asia, and South America. Africa, mainly South Africa, is way ahead of the trend, and it started in early 2000.
As I just said, South Africa started meddling with 3D printers in 2000 – 2004 to be more exactly. Rapid3D is known as one of the best, and most successful 3D printing companies in the world.
They originally wanted to move their HQ in ZwaZulu Natal, but things didn’t go as planned. They went even better actually. They signed a contract with the behemoth 3D Systems, and now Rapid3D is their agent in South Africa.
Rapid3D works exactly like other worldwide known 3D printing companies. You can come with a design, and print it using their 3D printers, or you can buy a design from them.
If you choose to use their 3D print service, you can pick from two 3D printers: the ZPrinter 650, and the Project 3500 Plus.
Imaginarium is the last one in our short overview list of 3D printing companies.
Imaginarium is a 3D printing company based in India, and this Asian company boasts that it’s one of the largest Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing Center. They are not wrong.
They have over 30 years of experience in the business industry, and 3D print a wide variety of products like jewelry, consumer goods, packaging, and architectural objects.
They don’t use only 3D print techniques, and they are known to dwell in SLA, SLS and Vacuum Casting machines.