Tom’s Reviews Popular 3D Print Services

By on October 1st, 2014 in Ideas, Service

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Tom’s Guide recently reviewed four major 3D print services to gauge their pricing and service quality. 

The four services reviewed were Shapeways, i.Materialise, Sculpteo and Cubify, who we would agree would constitute the four “majors” in 3D print services for consumers these days. There are a great many other smaller operations offering 3D print services for both consumers, professionals and industry, but they were not reviewed by Tom’s. 

The review involved ordering identical parts from each service and measuring the costs, part quality, service times and overall experience.

We encourage you to read the entire report, but for those wishing to get to the bottom line, here’s a summary of their findings:

  • Shapeways: cost USD$51.02, Best quality prints, Streamlined process
  • i.Materialise: cost USD$59.90, Almost-best quality prints, Great web experience, but slow and expensive shipping
  • Sculpteo: cost USD$46.65, Good quality prints, Challenging web experience
  • Cubify: cost USD$72.16, Inconsistent quality prints, Difficult web and ordering experience

While Tom’s ranks Shapeways first, and the others following, it’s very important to remember these when considering a 3D print service:

  • If you require a print in a specific material, it may be offered by only some vendors
  • You might want a specific 3D model from a vendors library; others may not have that same model
  • Online services change constantly as they respond to customer suggestions and evolve their solutions
  • Depending on the 3D printing technology employed and the ability to tweak the model, you can drastically affect the cost of a given print
  • Shipping costs can easily tip the scale one way or the other, depending on your location relative to the 3D print service’s location

Via Tom’s Guide

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!