Mar. 5, 2015 | By Alec

In recent years it has become far easier to work with 3D printing technology even when you don’t actually own a 3D printer. If you’re not a hardcore hobbyist, its remarkably easy to work with a professional 3D printing studio or Shapeways to get the results you need. There’s really only one problem with those services, and that is the hefty price tag attached to even small print jobs.

The new online 3D printing platform Voovo is, as co-founder and COO Chris Gray explained to us, exactly for that market. For the people who would like to 3D print objects and parts every now and then, but are put off by the serious prices involved. "We provide an outlet for entrepreneurs, engineers, and hobbyists to obtain cheap 3D printed parts and models from a network of both professional and independent 3D printing studios," he says. But because of a clever business model, they can do so at a far cheaper rate than current competitors. "Because we allow independent owners of 3D printers to facilitate these jobs, we end up being 25%-30% cheaper than Shapeways and almost 60% cheaper than going to a local professional 3D printing studio."

Those are some rates that will definitely get some attention. "Voovo allows customers requiring 3D printed models to quickly crowdsource job quotes from a community of passionate 3D printer owners," the Voovo team explains. "Job quotes are submitted in a reverse-auction style format to guarantee competitive pricing for the job poster. The platform also enables anyone who has a 3D printer to become a full-service 3D printing studio that can personalize, print, and ship models around the world."

The system sounds very simple. In a nutshell, you can upload the design files to their platform, along with a brief description of what you’re looking for. You can even link to Thingiverse to illustrate what you want. Print shops, of any size, can then immediately submit a quote in a reverse-auction style. And you can select whoever bids the lowest, or offers the best terms or has the best reviews.

With this customer-oriented process, Voovo is essentially trying to make 3D printing services viable for small and unimportant projects as well. "Not all 3D printing jobs require the same level of skill and attention to detail. Often enough professional printers don’t want the same type of jobs that can be done on a household 3D printer," Chris says. "We leave it up to them to decide what is most important: price, quality, or printer rating."

Voovo is based at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University in Toronto, and their plans are ambitious. Over 2015 alone, they are aiming to get 5,000 3D print shops to sign up, and provide at least 10,000 auctions. The first auctions, for projects as diverse as business card holders to jewelry, are already online. Go here to check them out, or even to place a bid or upload a project of your own.

Posted in 3D Printing Services


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CorGol wrote at 3/9/2015 4:37:03 AM:

Can't register, website sucks.

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