Today there are more than 100 companies worldwide which manufacture consumer class 3D printers. Among the top players are such companies as Makerbot (US), Ultimaker (the Netherlands), Zortrax (Poland), XYZ (China), and Mass Portal (Latvia). Vast majority of consumer class 3D printers can use any of available 3D filaments. It is estimated that at the end of 2015 the total number of consumer class 3D printers sold will reach a number of 300 000. The number of 3D printing filament manufacturers is increasing, too.
During the last 5 years 3D printing industry has been developing very rapidly on a global scale. Some of the problems faced today by 3D printer users.
Filament manufacturers and vendors are:
- Sale of 3D printing filaments is very fragmented since there are over 100 online stores where it is possible to buy 3D printer filaments;
- Amazon online store catalogue has more than 10 000 different 3D printing filaments;
- There are many interest groups on social networks, industry sites and blogs that are discussing 3D printing materials, their properties and conformity. It indicates that the market is growing every day, 3D printing filament supply is rapidly increasing and it becomes harder to obtain detailed information about materials that would be based on objective testing results.
In order to solve the identified problems a concept of 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform has been developed. 3 main aspects of the platform are:
- Community-based approach in selling, buying and testing 3D printer materials;
- Crowd-sourced testing of 3D printing materials;
- Development of new 3D printing materials with a help of community (crowd-based R&D).
In 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform registered users can provide expert opinion/feedback about different 3D printing materials. Platform community is made of universities, 3D printer users, industry experts and bloggers. Community members are motivated to provide their expert opinion about materials by the platform’s loyalty program. By providing information users earn loyalty points that are later exchanged for 3D printing filaments.
3Dprintmaterials.guru platform is a great place for generating ideas and developing new 3D printing materials (crowd-based R&D). The platform provides an opportunity for the registered users to initiate development of new 3D printing materials and order them from 3D printing manufacturers according to the chosen properties.
One of the core functions of 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform is an opportunity for 3D printer users to obtain detailed information regarding various 3D printing materials at one place. Thus, the platform works like a one-stop solution for everyone involved in 3D printing industry. 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform makes the process of buying 3D printing materials easy and user friendly because it uses the data from crowd-sourced expert tests.
The platform also provides 3D printer material testing service for manufacturers. The testing is performed by using the community members. Using the crowd community makes material testing for manufacturers easier since in many cases the manufacturers do not have the necessary capacity and resources to perform the testing of their 3D printing materials in-house. Moreover, using the crowd community shortens the testing period since the process is happening at several printers simultaneously (different community members). Therefore the total material development process is also shortened, hence improving the manufacturer’s competitiveness.
According to a recent survey on 3D printing materials, 33% of the 3D printer users do not have a specific preference for their best 3D printing materials supplier. At the same time 30% of people from the mentioned survey have named a vendor which was unique. Therefore, 3D printing materials market is very fragmented with many vendors in many countries selling filament.
3Dprintmaterials.guru is the first web-based platform in the world that solves the problem of selecting a trustable 3D printing materials supplier based on results from crowd-sourced tests. The process of finding the best 3d printer filament in 3Dprintmaterials.guru is based on the opinion of 3D printing industry professionals, not just on personal judgement of daily users of 3D printers, who usually do not rank 3D printer filaments according to a scientifically established methodologies.
The main element of the 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform is an easy-to-use on-line 3d printing materials marketplace enabling 3D printing material sellers and buyers to connect with each other and trade products. The platform also has an online community section with a purpose to obtain professional 3d printing industry expert ratings and reviews on existing 3D printer filaments, as well as on 3d printing materials that are new to the market.
3Dprintmaterials.guru also helps 3D printer filament producers to solve the problem of testing new 3D printer filaments on various types of printers in the crowd of professional 3D printing material testers. Until now the testing process of new 3D printer filaments was often resource consuming and expensive. However, 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform has solved this issue by providing a professional and inexpensive way of testing any new product before it is released in the market.
Selection of the best 3D printer filament might not be an easy task. YouMagine, a 3D printing community, found out in their Survey that over 33% of 3D printer users do not have any preferred 3D filament supplier. A reason for that could be a big variety of 3D printing materials suppliers and materials available on the market that makes it difficult for the user to make the choice.
3Dprintmaterials.guru suggests that selection of the 3D printing materials should be based not only on the personal opinion of other users who have provided a personal feedback about the particular material (for example, feedback on Amazon), but a professional tests carried out by industry experts. In the latter case the tests shall be based on the following key quality criteria:
- Ease of printing
- Warping of material
- Quality of printer surface
Furthermore, the tests of materials shall be performed on various types of printers as sometimes one material can have different quality properties when printed on different brands/types of printers.
In order to make the test results trustable source of information the procedure of testing should be carried out by as many testers as possible. 3Dprintmaterials.guru has solved this issue by creating a world’s first crowd-source based 3D printing materials platform.
Created new community for 3D printer filament`s users
3Dprintmaterials.guru is the first web-based platform that tries to change the way a quality 3D printer filaments are being purchased. Until now 3D printer users had to spend hours and even days when selecting the best 3D printer filaments for their printers. The process of 3D printer filament selection was quite complicated due to the fact that usually customers have neither the necessary knowledge nor objective information for selecting the best 3d printer filaments. Besides, the information available on such e-commerce platforms as Amazon is not structured to the level that would enable making a quality choice.
3dprintmaterials.guru has solved the problem by creating a platform that unites 3D printer filament manufacturers, industry experts, customers and distributors. Experts form a crowd of 3D printer filament testers who provide opinion on the quality of 3D printer filaments according to a scientifically accurate testing methodology.