3D printer as a service - does it make sense?

    Our company has one main project that we have been working on for more than four years. During this time, we acquired a lot of rather specific knowledge and skills in the field of development, manufacture and logistics of electronic products. One of the challenges electronics developers face is the manufacture of enclosures. And if there are no special surprises with their mass production for a long time (only three things are needed - money, money and money), then with prototyping until recently it was very difficult. And suddenly the era of 3D printers came!
    We are ripe for buying a 3D printer. Naturally, we will use it in our projects, but we are unlikely to be able to provide (at least for the first time) a 100% load. We know for sure that many companies provide printing services on their devices to everyone. So, it is proposed to discuss the “ideal” 3D printing service - what should it be?

    The fact is that one of the by-products of our main project is getting one of our companies in the Special Economic Zone. The status of a resident of the SEZ gives (among other things) the opportunity to save on the purchase of equipment - there are no customs duties and import VAT. We will have to customize the consumables as usual, but for the printer itself we will not pay anything beyond its price and the cost of delivery to our office. Great, right?

    Another of our “tricks” (which was born as part of the work on the main project) is the opportunity to buy anything cheap in China, to check the quality of the purchase on the spot and to deliver the purchase inexpensively to Moscow. It’s clear that you can buy a printer outside of China, but there is a suspicion that in China you can find something very tasty for much less money than, for example, in the USA (although if it suddenly turns out that the best option is for sale in the USA or Australia - we can also buy it without any problems).

    And here a well-known problem of choice arises. Already on the market there are so many tasty things in terms of 3D printing - straight eyes are running wide! Therefore, the first question to the community: what to take in the budget, for example, up to 10K USD? What is it now - the 3D printer of our dreams? We need ABS printing - is there any point in considering universal units that PLA can use? Or is it better to buy two printers for different materials in this budget? What sizes of products are in demand - do I need to chase large platforms? Plastic of different colors - is it necessary? Maybe just white and / or black is enough?
    If we only bought a printer for ourselves, we would answer all these questions ourselves. There are suitable candidates (and even in the budget up to 1,500 USD), and an understanding of what we need in terms of materials ... But, again, why not do a good deed to our colleagues? Gentlemen, what do you need ?

    Now the actual service.
    Custom 3D printing is not our core business. We are not going to “make a fortune” on this, but the extra money of our tiny company will not hurt. Therefore, the pricing of services will be extremely transparent - the cost (which is the sum of the cost of consumables, electricity and the salary of the personnel involved in this particular order) plus a reasonable margin (say, 20-25%). So the prices promise to be very humane.
    With the deadlines a little less rosy: it may take several business days to manufacture, legally export from the territory of the SEZ and deliver to Moscow.
    In terms of additional entrapment, we plan to provide customers with access to a webcam that will show the process of printing their order online. Well, or someone comes to us (this is not very simple, but in principle it is possible) and rents “printer time” right on the spot.
    Another possible service: after successful prototyping, we will be able to organize industrial production. There is a Russian company that can do this, but there is a common Russian problem - we need circulations, or rather, circulations . There are our trusted Chinese who will make the industrial party cheap and cheerful, and we will bring the result here. In general, we can help with this too.

    So, gentlemen, there are two main questions:
    1. Does it make sense to bother with all this or just buy a 3D printer for our needs and use it “secretly”?
    2. If you imagine that we will nevertheless organize such a service, then (subject to reasonable prices) what else would you like to receive from such a service?

    Well, advice / suggestions on specific printer models and types of supplies are welcome in every possible way.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    If a new 3D printing service appears, then I

    • 71.3% I will use it if the prices are reasonable. 821
    • 19.8% I will not use it, because 3D printing is not interesting to me. 229
    • 5.6% I will not use it, because I already have access to the 3D printer. 65
    • 3.1% I have a special opinion, which I will outline in the comments. 36

    Also popular now: