Idle 3D printers are the bane of the creative class. That’s why MakeXYZ.com is so important. It is a service that helps you find 3D printers near you and request print jobs. Like the remote batch jobs of yore, you can simply contact a MakeXYZ maker and they’ll print off your item.
Programmers Chad Masso and Nathan Tone opened up the site to orders this year and it’s already well-populated with printers awaiting their instructions. The Austin-based site is already profitable.
Quoth the website:We help people make stuff by connecting people who need something 3D printed with makers and print shops neighborhood. You browse printers in your zip code, and after you have found one, you upload your file, choose your color, material, zip code, and checkout. They print it for you and then either ship it to you, or hold it until you can pick it up. It’s an easy way to get quality 3D prints fast.
“We have signed up 550 printers in 1.5 months. We don’t disclose revenue or order volume data,” said Tone. “Printing locally turns out to be a sweet deal. In comparison to 3D printing service bureaus, customers going through MakeXYZ get their 3D models for half the cost, in a third of the time. And you get to meet the person who made your model… in our opinion, community beats anonymous factories.”
Print jobs are priced based on square centimeter and many jobs cost about $15. Prices start at about 25 cents per cm³ but those with a better run rate can ask for more. The company takes a 5% on top of the printer’s price. It’s clearly an excellent way to take up the slack in the 3D printing world, especially considering the price of the initial investment in Makerbots and other devices.
Tone said he created the product when he wanted to make a lightswitch cover with a hook attached. “I didn’t have a 3D printer, so I shipped the CAD file to a printing service bureau in NY. It was expensive and took over a month to arrive. Which was frustrating, in that when you’re making something you want to have it in your hands – to admire, iterate, etc. And since I’m sure that there’s gotta be one person in my building with a Makerbot.”
“Printing locally does just that – by keeping it in the community and halving the cost and turnaround time of making something awesome,” Tone said.