So -- I'm throwing around the idea of creating a network of printer-owners that

So – I’m throwing around the idea of creating a network of printer-owners that would be interested in printing designs for people for a fee. Would anyone be interested?

Interested, but you’ve gotta seriously think if you’re willing to deal with the logistics of such a thing. Ensuring people get paid, etc.

Isn’t that what the service bureau’s do now?

@Rifle_Creek the point is to put those service bureaus out of business and to help further the goals of the open source community. SLS, and Powder based printers and their techniques will be worked on, and those types of machines available to the public cheaply soon enough. As of right now, many FDM printers are capable of output satisfactory to most peoples needs.

I have dealt with 3 or 4 customers that wanted items printed in recent months in my shop in Reading Berks UK… my first experiences were quite painful, I received files in formats that wouldn’t print, 1 item did print okay but was not flat in the x y plane. it took me a while to work out why the print look funny. I make notes and recorded all of the problems along with the solution which can be found on this page here on my 3D printing website:

bear in mind this is a work in progress and will be amended as and when I solve more problems.

what I do is I direct my prospective customer to this page first, hopefully this simplifies the process for myself.

Obviously if the customer doesn’t want to follow my suggested route then I can do the work for them.

@ThantiK The best idea I have to date for mitigating risk would be to verify the printers in the network, similar to what eBay does to enforce accountability. The site would be a buffer between the parties that would help reduce the risks

Thanks for the link @Tony_Hine_Nifty_Acce !

I think this would be interesting. Having a way to be able to sell services would help justify having a 3d printer in the first place. Having a service that would handle some of the customer interaction would be great.

we charge a rate related to cubic inch used, loan maintenance, and post processing time. We make much more, though, charging for file conversion time, or product design.

This might work, but I see there being quite a bit of inconsistency of print quality. Perhaps if it was an “approved” printer who had shown a minimum level of print quality from their machine(s) it might make sense. Interesting idea, and definitely one I’d be interested in experimenting with if you decide to make it happen.

Awesome @John_Schneider ! I appreciate the feedback :slight_smile:

I know a couple of people who are already doing this via ebay, for what that’s worth – and both of them have more than paid off their printer purchase price.

@John_Bump , could you link to one of their listings? I’d be interested to see how they have that set up.

I would suggest perfect prints or it’s only going to hurt the 3D printing industry. But this would be similar to 100kgarages etc… Cool.

Combined w/ something like bitcoin for distributed payments it gets interesting. I’d think a community ‘ranking’ system/scoreboard so that people that commit fraud, don’t do the work, overcharge, whatever can be pinpointed. But, I like the idea quite a bit really.

Maybe look at it like moonshine back in the 20s & 30s. The big breweries and distilleries couldn’t make product (alcohol) anymore, so alcohol production fell to tens of thousands of independent manufacturers (moonshiners). Quality varied greatly, even permanently blinding or killing those who consumed it (very unlikely a bad print would cause this), but eventually groups of moonshiners became known for their excellent product and the thirsty public bought it up like crazy due to its reputation for safety and taste (Minnesota 13 is a perfect example).

Kind of a weird analogy to distributed 3D printing quality, but I hope you get my point, convoluted though it may be :slight_smile:

If you could scan the print after each layer then you could verify print quality. Maybe next year.

Very interested

Who do you think is the likely market for this idea? Are there a lot of people who create designs but don’t have a printer?

You’re all way overthinking this. Just have Yelp-style user reviews, and don’t do any QM or payment handling or whatever yourself.

Unless you desperately want to be able to monetise it eventually, of course, which to my mind doesn’t work within the ethos.