An article "Difference Engine: Making it" published today on The Economist site starts with a 3D printing experience from Jay Leno, a popular talk-show host on American television who has a fancy hobby of collecting old cars and motorbikes. When an aluminum parts is broken he simply fabricated a new one. As a celebrity and a rich man Mr Leno owns the best tools - $3,000 scanner from NextEngine and a $15,000 printer from Dimension, not to mention a Fadel CNC machining centre, which must have cost upwards of $100,000. And, you can also image, a crew of professional mechanics is helping him maintaining the vehicles.
What if you, are not as rich as Mr. Leno, or are not willing to pay for the tools and a professional team, have a broken part from your collections but you can not buy anywhere else? You can go to Shapeways, Ponoko, i.Materialise or Sculpteo. Or other choice? Yes - a recent press release from Kraftwurx revealed that they are in business.
Chris Norman, CEO of Digital Reality, started working on Kraftwurx in 2004. After years development, they are back to track and totally ready for designers, artists, consumers and bureaus. In these years, the amount of 3D printing services companies are growing like mushrooms in every corner of the world. The system is more or less the same, you upload your 3D model, a 3D printing service company manufacture it and ship to you.
What does Kraftwurx anything different than the other 3D printing service companies?
In a simple word it is a marketplace where you can buy, sell, create and customize products. However behind it there is a powerful system that no other company has the same.
It is specially pretty simple for designers and artists to sell their ideas on Kraftwurx. By opening a store on the site, you can simply upload your design. Kraftwurx will handle manufacturing, shipping and payment issues and your get paid when your design is sold. Opening the store is free, but for transactions (sales) of items Kraftwurx charges a percentage of the sale price.
If you are not professional designer you can just post your product ideas and pictures on the site and a designer will find you through Kraftwurx. You can co-create a product and get paid for modeling or share profits.
What runs Kraftwurx e-manufacturing system is the unique Digital Factory™ software, which is patent pending. It is a new approach to Enterprise Resource Planning Software allows Kraftwurx to provide an open platform for 3D print providers. It allows them to track real-time WIP, re-schedule work, re-route work to another facility, conduct what-if scenarios, update work instructions & travelers in real-time.
All these sound pretty complicated, we are wondering what this Digital Factory really looks like, similar as the other ERP tools like Oracle and Agile but for digital fabrication?
Digital Factory goes on sale next year, so we just need to be patient.
Other interesting features we discovered in this nine-person Kraftwurx is a chat system that allows you to chat in your own language with others, and a donation system that you can donate part of your sales to charities. In addition to their own 3D printers they have 600 bureaus in their network.
Kraftwurx is brand new - so let us wait for some feedbacks from users.
Below is a flyer from Kraftwurx on facebook.
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chris norman wrote at 12/16/2011 7:24:47 AM:
if you would like to talk to the staff at kraftwurx please call us at 281-256-9737 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Tips? Find bugs? Or suggestions, ideas, please drop us a note at "contact us" form. Thank you.