Matt Sinclair of We Dont Do Retro writes of his experience using the beta 3D printing service from Materialise, called "i.materialise".
The beta service proudly announces their manifesto:
We love 3D printing and are excited by amazing designs. That's why we developed the i.materialise platform. An online service making 3D printing as easy as printing on paper.
That, of course, is the goal of every 3D printing service: to make it easy to do. It's quite difficult, and each service attempts to tackle that mountain in a different way.
Matt's experience was based on his attempt to print a potentially challenging children's book character. Among his findings:
- Unspecified file limits, and had to guess at maximum resolution - but it turns out there are no limits
- Expressed concerns regarding whether i.materialise is correctly determining the feasibility of printing a pathological object. However, it's apparently fixed manually if necessary
- Orientation is apparently non-changable, at least for now, meaning you cannot use the standard trick of rotating the object to take advantage of higher resolutions along one axis of printing
- Encountered difficulties in attempting to use the color capabilities of i.materialise's ZCorp printer due to the monocolor preview
We're with Matt on this one: is this a service for professional designers or consumers? While it appears to be an excellent service, it seems to have a little of each in it. Some 3D print services are so clear on their target market that non-targeted visitors would immediately recognize they don't belong there. But this is a beta service and the purpose is to test and improve the service, so stay tuned!