Interested in 3D printing but don’t have the budget to buy the equipment – or the
know-how to run it? 3D Printer Farm is a simple idea that its operators hope will shape
how schools across the country use 3D printing.
It’s a simple idea that could solve a complex and costly 3D challenge facing schools.
3D Printer Farm is a new initiative that’s offering you the chance to engage with 3D printing but without the hassle of actually running a printer.
“You simply upload designs, the farm prints them out, and they’re mailed back to you. No mess. No fuss,” explained Robert Reid, Managing Director of 3Design NZ.
When 3Design first entered the 3D printing market, he thought that this innovative technology would spark a surge in interest and use. What he discovered, however, was despite a high demand for 3D printing from businesses, there was a lack of demand from elsewhere, including schools.
Costly and intimidating
“People who wanted to try out 3D printing did not want to have to buy an expensive 3D printer or keep up with its maintenance,” he said. “The idea of 3D printing seemed intimidating because of the knowledge needed to successfully operate a printer to get the outcome you are looking for.
“We realised there are no current services available in New Zealand for people who just want to try 3D printing without the associated expensive costs and knowledge required to do so. That’s why 3Design has created a 3D printing farm. This means anyone, anywhere in the country can create the 3D models they want with nothing more than an internet connection.”
Breaking down barriers
The printing farm is run from the company’s Tauranga-based studio using Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus desktop printers. Users simply go online and access these printers remotely, allowing them to upload a 3D file of the model they want to be made and letting the printer do the rest of the work.
“They can choose whether their model is made from PLA plastic filament and decide what colour it is. Once their object has finished printing, we will package it and send to wherever they are in New Zealand.
“What excites us most about our new printing farm is the opportunities it opens for schools that were previously unsure about using 3D printing. We can offer them an easy, cost-effective and time-saving way to utilise 3D printing technology, without having to have any 3D printing knowledge or their own printer. Our 3D printing farm breaks down the barriers and gives teachers the option to 3D print all from the comfort of their own classroom.”
INTERFACE Editor Greg Adams was talking to
Robert Reid, Managing Director of 3Design NZ.
How it works
Go to 3dinnovation.co.nz. Under the ‘Services’ tab, select ‘3D Printer Farm’.
- Simply create an account, upload your 3D file, choose your filament and colour specifications and away you go. Objects are printed on a Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Desktop Printer, which has a maximum print size of 200mm x 200mm x 180mm.
- Next, the site will calculate the cost to create your 3D model, which is determined per gram of filament required. The postage fee, handling fee and the printer hire cost will also be included in this cost calculation.
- Lastly, once the payment has been completed, one of the 3D printers will begin printing your object. Turnaround is fast, with a 48-hour delivery time from the completion of the print. Orders can be sent anywhere in New Zealand.
WIN a $100 voucher to spend at the 3D Printer Farm