3D Hubs is the quick and nimble startup based in New York and Amsterdam. They make a lot of interesting moves, publish trend reports and partner up with some of the best and brightest companies in the 3D printing industry, such as Autodesk. 3D Hubs was founded just 18 months ago in April of 2013 by Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret, but is the world’s largest and fastest growing network of 3D printers with over 8,000 locations in 140 countries. They’ve been on a mission to make 3D printing as accessible as possible to the masses. Most recently, 3DHubs announced that they will be dropping its service fee and offering $25 of free 3D print credit for students around the globe.
Students can participate by entering the name of their university and their personal education email address here. Now, the first 1000 students to sign-up will receive $25 worth of 3D print credit, adding up to a total of $25.000. This could help a lot of students get their 3D printed projects done without an obscene expenditure of their time or money. Sometimes, the alternatives to a global network of 3D printers amount to either buying their own 3D printer for only a few print jobs, or suffering impossibly long wait times for in-school 3D printers they may physically have access to. Students can become sharers by referring the program to three other potential participants, while earning an extra $10 along the way. If you are a student, and you’re reading this after the first 1000 have signed up, under the terms of the offer you are still eligible to receive a 15% discount on all your 3D prints, effectively making the 3D Hubs service free. Free counts for everyone, but it can mean a world of difference to anyone saturated with deadline anxiety.
The average delivery time on 3D Hubs is 2 days, which is great for the iterative process and making close to last minute changes. 3D Hubs is really trying to send out a signal to students who are all trying to get their 3D prints done at various similar points during the semester. The capacity of the 3D Hubs network is virtually unlimited in this respect.
Another benefit might be that a student may not be so familiar with the process of getting their 3D models or files ready for printing. Since a student will be referred locally, they have a better chance of connecting with and learning from a 3D printing expert in their immediate vicinity. According to Bram de Zwart, CEO, “we see numerous cases where our Hubs go to great lengths to help customers get their model ready for printing.” Getting in touch with someone who has a higher level of expertise just might make the difference between accomplishing your prints successfully and on time. 3D Hubs also takes an active approach to helping spread essential knowledge. They organize inspirational and educational meet-ups to share ideas and practical tips & tricks related to 3D printing.
Bram de Zwart expounds on his vision of how 3D printing hubs basically encapsulate the seeds of 3D printing knowledge locally:
“All the economic value, as well as the knowledge of 3D print experts, everything at 3D Hubs, remains inside the local community. Growing these values locally, instead of extracting and centralizing both wealth and knowledge somewhere else, is what makes the difference in the long run. We think our vision of creating local value aligns perfectly well with those of Universities and schools.”