Canadian operation Voovo hopes to provide a different method of accessing 3D print services.
The startup provides several angles on the problem of obtaining and printing 3D models:
- You can upload a 3D model of your own
- You can search their marketplace for an appropriate 3D model
- You can post a job to their network of 3D printer operators for printing
- You can select a local “3D Print Shop” and send your 3D models there for nearby printing
Volvo provides a means for all stakeholders in the above functions to participate. You can, for example, join their community network if you happen to own a 3D printer. If you’re more ambitious, you can sign up to become a 3D print shop.
Print jobs are processed in an auction, where potential suppliers can bid on the job. Perhaps you’ll choose the lowest price bid, but you don’t have to, as vendors may offer differing qualities.
Meanwhile, Voovo adds a minimum service fee of USD$2 per selected bid or 10% commission on any bid exceeding USD$20.
For 3D printer operators wishing to get more business, it certainly would not hurt to sign up to this service, as it doesn’t cost a thing to do so. Having more channels for clients to arrive is always a good thing.
This is a slightly different take on the community printing angle, presented in a very slick web interface.
While it looks like a pretty good service, they may face some big challenges immediately. First, their 3D model repository has very few items in it as compared to other options, some of which, like Thingiverse, have hundreds of thousands of items. It is impossible to catch up to them at this point.
Similarly, Voovo faces competition from other community networks, such as 3D Hubs, which recently indicated they have over 13,000 participants in their network worldwide. MakeXYZ, another community network, is also far ahead of Voovo. It may be difficult for Voovo to catch up there, too.
However, stranger things have happened. If Voovo can provide excellent service and get a bit of buzz, they may succeed.