On demand manufacturing

Shop3D launches plug-in allowing designers to sell 3D printed miniatures direct to clients

3D printing software and service provider Shop3D has launched a free web browser plug-in that allows users to sell their 3D printed model designs via its digital platform. 

Shop3D’s online add-on enables sellers to market their miniatures using its virtual store, and once sold, its software manages the production and postage automatically. By streamlining the selling process, the service allows designers to concentrate on growing their businesses, rather than time-intensive admin tasks. 

“Shop3D is easy to use and affordable. It puts on-demand manufacturing in the hands of creators with its 3D printing and drop shipping plugin,” said Alex Ziff, CEO of Shop3D. “It is as straightforward as installing the plug-in, adding their CAD files, selecting material options, and then activating Shop3D on the designer’s online store.”

Shop3D's specializes in the production of miniatures, token items and tabletop terrain. Image via Shop3D.
The Shop3D plugin can be used for the production of miniatures, token items, and tabletop terrain. Photo via Shop3D.

Shop3D’s online service offering 

Shop3D is an online 3D printing platform that offers on-demand AM, CNC machining and injection molding services to clients requiring a small number of parts on a one-off basis.

In terms of printing materials, Shop3D not only offers basic grey and full-color polymers but a metal resin as well, and it considers its service to be ideal for anything less than 500 parts. The company primarily addresses its core customer base by growing the compatibility of its Application Programming Interface (API).

Shop3D’s API is already available via Shopify and WordPress, and the firm plans to launch on the Etsy and Wix platforms soon, to further expand on its potential audience. On the seller side, the company offers a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and digital inventory software too, to help manufacturers maximize their profitability. 

With the launch of its new plug-in, the company has now added significant functionality to its online platform. By introducing the ability for sellers to market directly to potential customers via a quick and easy add-on, Shop3D stands to benefit from a considerably larger customer base. 

Shop3D says that its new plug-in can be installed in less than ten minutes. Image via Shop3D.
Shop3D says that its new plug-in can be installed in less than ten minutes. Image via Shop3D.

Plugging into the digital economy 

Shop3D’s new software plug-in has been built to allow designers and digital creatives to address what it perceives as a rapidly growing market for miniatures. The firm highlights that tabletop gaming has experienced a resurgence that’s not been seen since the 1980s and that board games have enjoyed double digit growth in the U.S. 

With this background, Shop3D’s launch is well-timed to take advantage of this revival, while 3D printing is ideal for maximizing returns in the Digital-To-Physical (DTP) space. In terms of the plugin itself, the company has accelerated the ordering process, and it now says that it provides improved prices and lead times for its products. 

“In the past six months, we have streamlined our manufacturing capacity. This initiative has driven down prices and improved lead times,” said Ziff. “We now guarantee five day manufacturing lead time on specific categories. We are also working on next day delivery while keeping costs under control for the 3D creatives we serve.”

In the last six months, the company has established a user base of over 200 clients, with orders ranging from figurines to jewelry printing, and low-volume runs to Kickstarter campaigns. One of these clients, a designer, and seller of models called Printed Obsession, has praised the speed and efficiency of the overall service. 

“We’ve worked with Shop3D now for nearly a year; they have given me the freedom to focus on what I love doing, designing,” stated the founder of Printed Obsession. “The Shop3D platform is intuitive to use, and I got my store set up within one hour.”

Upgrading 3D printing’s service bureaus

3D printing service bureaus have long provided a cost-efficient entry point to low-volume additive manufacturing. As the market continues to get more competitive though, these companies have increasingly felt the need to beef up their offerings, to stay ahead of their rivals. 

3D scanning company Wysiwyg 3D, for instance, recently partnered with the GoProto service bureau, to launch a joint printing and laser scanning service. By combining their expertise, the firms aim to create a more streamlined service for their clients and partners. 

GoProto has also launched a new 3D printing service called 3DElastroPrint, which specializes in manufacturing “rubber-like” parts. The company’s new offering is based on a flexible TPA created by Evonik, which enables the production of lightweight automotive components or sporting goods. 

Conor Flynn, Shop3D’s Head of Kickstarter Production, highlights another area where designers can reap the benefits of their creative work. “Alongside the Print on Demand (POD) service we provide, Shop3D also works very well for larger production runs whether it be for pre-orders or Kickstarter campaigns. Working with 3D printing in this manner avoids large upfront capital outlays, and removes the risk of overproduction or stock gathering dust in inventory.”

For larger runs, Shop3D offers quality 3D printing, resin casting, and injection molding services to provide any campaign the price and quality they need and provide a complete manufacturing and fulfillment package.

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Featured image shows a set of miniature models that were produced using Shop3D’s suite of services. Image via Shop3D.