If you’ve been learning about 3D printing, you’ll know that the best things to print are those that are one-offs. Unique, custom items that are made once for someone. They’re special and “fit” only one use or person.
If you want to make many of an item, you should not 3D print but instead use traditional mass-manufacturing techniques. Or so the mantra says.
But we think that’s no longer true.
If you want to mass manufacture something there is still a big cost to “set up” a manufacturing line to do so. But what if you want more than one, but less than a million of an item? Would you spend the set up cost? Probably not.
There’s a market for 3D printing limited quantities of identical objects in addition to custom one-offs. If you want ten, a hundred or maybe a thousand “things”, you still might be better off 3D printing them.
3D printing service Sculpteo recognizes this and has implemented a way to easily do so. The new “3D Printing Batch Control” feature is available to all Sculpteo users in a beta test and permits those requesting more than 20 of an item to:
- See the entire batch of items as it will be produced inside the printer
- Get a better price by optimizing the positioning and spacing of your items and instantly see per-unit pricing
- Use any of three finishes (glossy varnish, satin polish and double polish)
- Adjust the orientation of models to ensure correct strengths
- Preview a simulation of each layer of your print to ensure everything is correct
These features are far beyond what you’d normally see if simply printing one item.
We think this is a big step forward for those who use 3D print services. It’s no longer a way to “just print things”; it’s now a personal factory service. Need 100 items? Just press the button. Need 200? Press it again.