As 3D printing has gotten cheaper and more efficient, more and more makers are looking to get their models 3D printed. Ranging from artists creating intricate designs on their 3D software tools, to makers looking to borrow the best 3D printer possible, there is a growing demand for an online 3D printing service that can fulfill these demands.
Now in 2019, a wide variety of 3D printing service and marketplace options compete for your business. Therefore, ranked on criteria including: amount of 3D printing technologies offered; variety of 3D printer materials available; and price, we created our ten best 3D printing services for 2019. This list is not in rank order, but a selection of the 10 best online 3D printing services based on the above criteria.
3D Printing Service: which technologies are available?
Different online 3D printing service companies offer different options, depending on a variety of factors. Newer and more expensive technologies such as CLIP and Multi Jet Fusion are not yet a staple of many services (though they undoubtedly will be), whereas FDM and SLS are offered by most 3D printing services.
1 – Shapeways
- Established: 2007.
- Company based: Holland / USA
Shapeways is a prominent online 3D printing service founded back in 2007 by Dutch entrepreneur Peter Weijmarshausen, and is now based in New York. However, Shapeways is not just a service but operates as a whole marketplace, allowing 3D designers to sell the designs they create on various 3D software. Shapeways then fulfills these orders by 3D printing the design and sending it to the buyer.
One of the most versatile 3D printing services, Shapeways offers a huge variety of 3D printing technologies and materials. They offer SLA, SLS, DMLS, FDM, PolyJet, and Binder Jetting 3D printing services. You can have your designs 3D printed in standard PLA or ABS, or even steel, bronze, silver, gold, aluminium, brass, sandstone or porcelain! Overall, Shapeways is a surefire way to find whatever you’re looking for, and is a great way for 3D designers to monetize their creativity.
2 – i.materialise
- Company based: Belgium.
- Established: 1990.
i.materialise is a 3D printing marketplace in a similar vein to Shapeways, and is part of Materialise NV. Based in Belgium, Materialise have over 25 years experience in the 3D printing sector. Like Shapeways, 3D designers can use i.materialise to list and sell their designs, and pick up a portion of the revenue of any sales; whilst . In addition, i.materialise also offer their online 3D printing service in which you can simply upload your model, choose your material, and pay to have the 3D model printed and shipped to you.
Like Shapeways, i.materialise offers a huge variety of 3D printing technologies including SLA, SLS, FDM, Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet, Lost wax printing, and metal 3D printing technologies. You can also choose between plastics such as ABS, a variety of resins, polyamide, bronze, silver, gold, titanium, steel, brass and rubber, for your 3D model.
3 – Sculpteo
- Company based: France.
- Established: 2009.
Founded back in 2009 in France to specialize in 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the cloud, Sculpteo is a prominent European online 3D printing service. Offering Carbon 3D’s CLIP technology in addition to SLA, SLS, Binder Jetting, DMLS, and PolyJet; you have an abundance of choice for technologies. Moreover, Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service offers materials including PA11 & PA12 varieties, resins, aluminium, steel, bronze, silver, brass, and more. Overall, Sculpteo is a great online 3D printing service for Europeans looking to get their models 3D printed quickly and to a high standard.
4 – Protolabs
- Company based: USA.
- Established: 1999.
Another 3D printing service with a rich and long history in manufacturing, Protolabs has been around since being founded in 1999 by Larry Lukis. Originally set up to offer low cost injection molding and CNC machining, Protolabs has also offered 3D printing services since 2014.
These 3D printing services include SLA, SLS, DMLS, MJF and PolyJet technologies to meet customers’ need across plastic, resin, and metal 3D printed parts. Moreover, Protolabs offer special materials – such as elastomers – among others to service the needs of many different consumers. This versatility has clearly been successful, as Protolabs announced revenues of over $344M in 2017 and now employ over 1,000 people worldwide.
5 – Voodoo Manufacturing
- Company based: USA.
The new kid on the block in the world of 3D printing services, Voodoo Manufacturing offers FDM 3D printing of potentially unlimited sized pieces. This is because larger 3D printed parts can be made in sections – or blocks – and assembled together after printing. Voodoo Manufacturing makes use of over 200 FDM 3D printers including those by Makerbot and Raise3D.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Voodoo offers just fused deposition modeling, but does it well. Voodoo Manufacturing offer just two 3D materials – PLA and TPU – but is specialized as to offer an effective manufacturing process including automation to provide the best possible service to customers. There’s a reason they’ve already served over 2,000 customers.
6 – MakeXYZ
- Company based: USA.
MakeXYZ is an online 3D printing service and marketplace, proclaiming democratization and camaraderie between makers. Like 3D Hubs’s business model when they started, in addition to being able to simply upload your 3D file and order a print, owners of their own personal 3D printers can register and sell their services to do the printing. This means that anybody with a 3D printer can start making money performing 3D printing services.
Therefore, MakeXYZ doesn’t print your model, but will link you to a trusted printer who will – MakeXYZ’s software gives you a price based on size, technology, and material used, and facilitates the sale between buyer and seller.
Despite not operating any of their own 3D printers, the MakeXYZ online 3D printing service lists FDM 3D printers, SLA 3D printers, SLS 3D printers, and PolyJet on their site. They’re mostly based in the UK and USA, and offer materials including PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU and resins.
7 – 3D Hubs
- Founded: 2013.
- Company based: Holland.
3D Hubs was founded to serve as a bridge between those who needed a part 3D printed, and those with a 3D printer and spare capacity. This has proven hugely successful, and 3D Hubs has since received over $11.5M in investment to grow their services.
The difference between other 3D printing services and 3D Hubs is that 3D Hubs do not 3D print the models in-house, but link buyers and sellers in a marketplace similar to Etsy or eBay. This supports local hubs and businesses, and also means 3D Hubs don’t need to spend money on hundreds of 3D printers. Though they have refocused on more industrial clients – prompting considerable backlash – 3D Hubs appear to be performing strongly, and now employ 45 staff worldwide.
8 – Quickparts by 3D Systems
- Company based: USA.
Quickparts, part of 3D Systems, is another major rapid prototyping online 3D printing service. 3D Systems has a reputation for being a leading 3D printer manufacturer, and use their versatile range of 3D printers to cater to your every need. These include Selective Laser Sintering, Stereolithography and ColorJet 3D printers.
Focused on a more industrial clientele, Quickparts offers four distinct 3D printing services: fast-turn prototyping; advanced prototyping; low-volume manufacturing; and appearance modeling. This suite of tools and options performs a variety of services, helping companies get the custom parts they need at the lowest prices.
9 – Stratasys Direct
- Company based: USA.
Stratasys is one of the largest and most valuable 3D printing companies in the world, so it is inevitable that they would move into the online 3D printing service space. Like Quickparts with 3D Systems, Stratasys can rely on their high quality 3D printer systems to produce parts on demand. As a result, Stratasys Direct offer DMLS, FDM, SLS, Multi Jet Fusion, PolyJet, and Stereolithography.
Beyond being a 3D printing service, Stratasys Direct also offer CNC milling and injection molding. They offer over 20 different materials across the 3D printing technologies offered, serving clients from the aerospace, medical and transport sectors.
10 – 3DPRINTUK
- Company based: UK.
3DPRINTUK is an online 3D printing service that serves the UK and Europe, providing high quality SLS 3D printing using their Formiga SLS 3D printers. Whereas most other services offer three, four, or even five or six different 3D printing technologies, 3DPRINTUK prefer to focus and master one technology, Selective Laser Sintering.
Simply upload your STL file go through the product criteria (choosing your color, etc) and get your nylon 3D model delivered to you a few days later. They even offer a healthy student discount for if you’re trying to get a prototype made for a student project!