3D print service Sculpteo announced the availability of a laser cutting capability. What does this mean?
For one thing, I suppose we should no longer call them a “3D print service”, as they do more than just 3D printing now.
In their post Sculpteo explains they’re attempting to move their company closer to the “Factory of the Future”, or “Industry 4.0”, as our post from last week detailed.
Laser cutting is indeed a very useful technology, and in fact I often refer people to it rather than 3D printing because for many types of objects, laser cutting is simply more efficient, effective and inexpensive.
2D objects in particular fall into this category. There are a great many 3D printed objects that are simply a flat, 3D relief of a 2D shape. These could certainly be 3D printed, but as readers will know, 3D printing is most often expensive and slow.
With such constraints, you should only 3D print objects whose geometries require that technology. Other making technologies, such as CNC milling, molding and cutting are sometimes less expensive and must always be considered.
With this announcement, Sculpteo has created one “outlet” for makers to produce a certain type of object at lower cost. They’d clearly like to retain that making business rather than have it go elsewhere to a laser cutting service, for example.
I strongly suspect that Sculpteo is at least considering adding other making services to their portfolio in the future to provide an even more comprehensive making platform.
This is a big step for a 3D print service, as it suddenly dramatically differentiates them from their competition, many of whom remain “3D print” services only.