Individuals and businesses alike have been using 3D printing services more and more, so much that Shapeways can barely keep up with all the orders. Most print services are a warehouse filled with commercial grade 3D printers operated by a team of professionals. A complex queue is managed for weeks of orders, which are printed, finished, and shipped directly to customers. Such queues could be alleviated by a presence of more local 3D print services, which is exactly why makexyz launched. It won’t be the last crowdsourced 3D printing service to arise though, evidenced by CowFab.
One of makexyz’s selling points is it allows people that need something printed to have it printed locally, eliminating the cost and time of shipping. CowFab has a different approach. Instead of having customers seek quotes from those with printers, the process is reversed; customers create projects and those with printers send bids to fulfill those projects. This creates a more competitive environment as whichever printer operators offer the lowest bids will win the most projects.
CowFab takes only 5% of each sale, which is half of the makexyz take. The service was founded by Brennon Williams and Chris Atkeson, the former of which was a software engineer for Bespoke Innovations before it was acquired by 3D Systems. If you’d like to post a project, just make sure it doesn’t violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation; relate to transactions involving copyrighted material or designs; or relate to transactions involving material or designs that may be used as weapons. Simple enough.