Sep 22, 2016 | By Benedict

3D printing service Sculpteo has introduced an online laser cutting feature which customers can use in tandem with the service’s 3D printing options. The new service sees Sculpteo moving closer towards its all-in-one “Factory of the Future” vision.

In a world where anything and everything is just a few clicks away, there are now numerous websites through which experts and amateurs alike can obtain 3D printed objects without their own 3D printer. Services such as Shapeways, i.materialise, and Sculpteo all offer would-be makers the chance to fabricate their own 3D printed objects without the hassle of operating and maintaining their own 3D printing equipment. Each of these online services has its own particular benefits and specialities, but Paris-based Sculpteo has just introduced a massive new feature which could potentially attract hordes of new customers.

As part of its continued efforts to transcend mere 3D printing and move towards a “Factory of the Future” business model, Sculpteo has introduced a 2D laser cutting service that will work in tandem with its existing 3D printing services. “The factory of the future combines various direct manufacturing techniques online,” Sculpteo explains. “It allows you to go directly from a design to an object, and produce any object you wish, with the materials and techniques that fit your needs. Today, at Sculpteo, this means 3D Printing and Laser Cutting on one unique interface.”

According to Sculpteo, the introduction of its new online laser cutting service strongly reflects its users’ needs. In a recently conducted survey, the French company found that 40% of its 3D printing clients also used laser cutting during their projects, frequently combining the two technologies on a single item. In light of this, Sculpteo decided to create an online laser cutting service that is purportedly as simple to use as its existing 3D printing counterpart, giving designers a huge new array of options when ordering a part.

While Sculpteo’s 100-Watt CO2 laser cutting technology is not in itself revolutionary, the way in which the service is providing those laser cutting tools to customers is entirely new. For example, the online interface for the laser cutting service can manipulate an uploaded 2D vector file in several ways: it automatically recognizes color schemes; provides material, color, and thickness options; and enables users to tweak settings to their preference. The interface also has a full preview feature, lets users check and edit the object’s scale, and provides a live price quote which changes depending on edits.

For now, Sculpteo will offer its laser cutting services in four main materials: cardboard, plywood, MDF, and acrylic, each of which comes in various types, thicknesses, and colors, coming to a total of 60+ material options.

  • Cardboard comes in 3 types: corrugated, grey or cellulose, and 5 thicknesses
  • MDF comes in 7 colors and 4 thicknesses
  • Plywood comes in two types: Okumé or Poplar, and 2 thicknesses
  • Acrylic comes in 17 colors and opacities, and 4 thicknesses

Sculpteo’s laser cutting service had been in beta since July, during which time a number of pioneer users gave feedback on the service. Since then, the company has reduced its European lead time to 1-3 days (1-5 days in the U.S.) and has improved its learning center, so that users can prepare their projects in a more informed manner. The future looks bright for Sculpteo, and time will tell whether the company decides to introduce further digital manufacturing services to complement its 3D printing and laser cutting options.



Posted in 3D Printing Service



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