You're interested in 3D printing, but don't have a 3D printer. You also don't want to pay a high price to a 3D print service to obtain a print of your own 3D design. What do you do?
One option, aside from finding a buddy with a 3D printer, is to use the makexyz service. It's a low-cost, distributed 3D print service composed of a network of 3D printer owners willing to perform the print for you. makexyz produces a quote and dispatches your design to a nearby printer, who makes the item and ships it to you.
We spoke with makexyz's Nathan Tone, who answered some of our questions:
Fabbaloo: Can you print in something other than plastic? Colors?
Nathan Tone: Currently just ABS and PLA with wood, nylon and aluminum to be added in the next few weeks. More colors are being added every day. Currently red, blue, green, purple, clear, white, black, silver.
Fabbaloo: What kinds of 3D printer participants are you looking for? Brands? Material types?
Nathan Tone: All shapes, sizes and price points. From a Thing-o-Matic to an Objet Pro 30
Fabbaloo: What charge levels / rates will consumers pay for a given print? How do you calculate it?
Nathan Tone: Consumers save a pretty significant amount of money. What costs $20-$30 at shapeways and imaterialize is usually $10-$15 at makexyz.
Fabbaloo: What's in this for the printer operator? How much are they paid per print? Is it a percentage?
Nathan Tone: The printers set their own prices (a $ per cubic centimeter). So it's great for the printers; they can keep their printers humming and make some money / maker friends on the side!
So far makexyz says they've signed up "Hundreds" of participants, "with more added daily".
If you're interested in trying out makexyz, check them out at the link below.