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Amsterdam company to make 3D printing available to everyone31 August 2013, by Elzi Lewis
A scheme by an Amsterdam company has just received funding to open up unused 3D printers for use by the public.
The big idea
3D printing allows individuals and businesses to construct solid objects in various materials, chiefly wood, metal or plastic.
Studies show that most 3D printer owners ("hubs") use their technology for 10 hours or less per week. However, 3D Hubs seeks to change this by creating a "collaborative production platform."
This platform harnesses the printers' remaining capacity, about 90 per cent of the week, and lets other people ("makers") purchase usage on the machines.
In this way, 3D Hubs seeks to effectively unlock the potential of otherwise idle technology.
This scheme makes 3D printers readily available to a limitless number of people.
Furthermore, by allowing printer owners to lease out their devices (and decide their own price for the time and materials involved), 3D Hubs is a mutually beneficial arrangement. It also forges connections between members of the "3D maker community."
3D Hubs already has over 500 printing locations in its database.
photo by Flickr user CreativeTools
The company's expansion, which would increase this portfolio considerably, has just been funded by the London-based venture capital firm, Balderton Capital.
Mark Evans, a partner at Balderton, announced that the firm decided to make the investment because 3D Hubs "is run by an exceptional team operating in a space with huge potential."
As Evans observes, this could really revolutionise the technology market, by making 3D printing "a viable option for everyone for the first time."
For more information, see the 3D Hubs website
Source: Balderton Capital