From Fabnami to 3DPrinteo, from Skyforge to 3DPrinterOS, Astroprint, OctoPrint, Materialise’s 3DPrintCloud and more, many startups and even some established companies are laying down the foundation for the cloud-based digital manufacturing infrastructure of tomorrow. A startup called DigiFabster wants to offer its own take in this promising field.

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In general, these services offer either an online 3D printing service platform or a cloud-based remote 3D print management system. DigiFabster integrates both approaches into a single online service. Like Fabnami and 3Dprinteo, it offers easy-to-use instant checkout for accepting orders online, complete with an online tool for fixing files and giving instant quotations.

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This also includes a flexible cloud-based platform that allows 3D printing businesses to handle more orders and build a production chain through outsourcing partners. The goal is to enable 3D printing services to optimize their time by automating basic functions such as client interaction, quotation and cost analysis. All clients have to do is sign up and access DigiFabster’s cloud platform. The system will also keep track of each client’s statistics and outsource any project that exceeds capacity (or even all projects, if the 3D printers are not available in-house).

It is amazing to me how far these online file management services have come over just a few months. Their progress moves right alongside that of 3D printing technology and the diffusion of 3D printing systems for manufacturing. If there ever was a doubt in my mind that this is the future of manufacturing, it is rapidly fading; when this transition is complete, one cloud 3D printing infrastructure will emerge as dominant and lead the next wave of 3D printing implementation.

Even more so than the number of options and ease of use, I think that launch timing will be key in reaching mass diffusion. Too early and it will be unnoticed, too late and it will trail. Only time will tell if the time for mass online digital manufacturing has really come and which service is best suited to rise and become the cloud-based “Windows” of 3D printing.

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