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Our Etsy API is Now Live - Slant 3D API Beta Launch

Today, we're granting any developer, anywhere in the world access to our giant farms for free. So, we are releasing our API. This API will allow developers to build apps on top of our print farms—apps that connect to our print farms! It's like our own Etsy app and print-on-demand application where they can access our API to send a 3D model to us and then have that model sliced, printed, and shipped out to the final customer without any sort of interference whatsoever or interaction from that developer.

They can build an application on a print farm without having to know anything about a print farm. And this is an enormous deal because in the past, if you ever wanted to make anything, you had to purchase a mold, get it shipped over here, have the expertise of how to get it made and designed, and all the rest of it. But this API lets you get access to large-scale production and print-on-demand without any sort of upfront cost at all. You only have to pay for the part when the part is actually made. This is going to change how all of this works because it opens it up to people who are not just 3D printing enthusiasts but people who want to just use 3D printing for how cool it can be. And nifty products that it can make.

This has been a long-term goal for Slant 3D. When we started, we had this vision of a kid with a laptop being able to create some type of a widget. Historically, it's always been some computer geek who wanted to program the next Facebook who could mess around with stuff. But it was never possible with hardware because it was just too expensive. 3D Printing had the opportunity to allow anyone to make anything, but it was just too difficult to get access to. And again, you had to build a whole factory if you really wanted to produce stuff. But we effectively put our factory on the cloud. That kid with a laptop is now able to get access to all of our printers through whatever types of applications are created via this API.

If you're a developer who's made something like a nightlight generator where a normal user can upload a family photo, have it converted to a nightlight and then have that nightlight shipped to them, that is now doable because you get access to our enormous print farms and all of the infrastructure and logistics that enable them to function efficiently. This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to access large-scale 3D printing. And by large scale, we don't mean large format or a couple of parts. We mean anywhere from 1 to 100,000 pieces as quickly as they need them shipped in 3 to 5 days after an order is placed or put through on the API.

It's like in a WAC server that can be a tiny little single-page notification, an app, or it could be Netflix. Anything in between is now supported in a manufacturing context. And this wasn't an easy thing to do. The API, as simple as it appears, has a huge amount of infrastructure under it. The most basic part of it is our print farms. That entire system we have been building for years. Our print farms are enormous, and the production system that runs them is very complex and continually getting better so that when a random order comes in from somewhere in the world, it can be printed and shipped out in 3 to 5 days. There have been printers before trying to attempt this, but it's always been a three-week lead time and a very expensive part for an item that costs a few dollars to be printed, packed, and shipped. It has been a very long journey of reducing the cost of material and improving the workflows for the process. All of the infrastructure around this API had to be put in place in order to get us to where it can be supported. However, with the API itself, in order for it to function scalable, we had to change how everything works around slicing and 3D models and handling them.

This API has the fastest slicer on the planet. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but it really is one. When building an internet service that receives a call and has to send a response. It has to be fast. We've made it fast. We are able to slice any part in milliseconds, which has never been possible before because slicers have always been designed for local machines. There's never been an online slicer, let alone one that is this fast. This allows developers to get instant feedback of how much a part will cost and therefore provide that feedback to anyone who is using their application. And that wasn't an easy solution to create, but it makes the API really robust and very scalable for whatever you're doing, whether you're dealing with a few small models or generating thousands of API generated models. The API is able to support all of that.

The possibilities of what this now makes possible are really endless because it now becomes super, super easy to get access to print capacity. It's no longer "try and build a bunch of machines and figure out how to run them and then figure out how to ship parts". It's literally just insert a little bit of code, and you have a Shopify application like our Etsy app, or you can add a buy now button to any 3D model repo. It gives designers new ways to monetize and protect their files rather than turning files loose out into the world. They can simply provide prints to the people who want them, or they can receive a commission off of each print that is made through whatever application is using their designs.

Anything that you want to have made can now be made, and you have a scalable system to support whatever your application may be. So now, with the applications that will be built on this API, a kid in Africa with an Internet connection can now make a physical thing that maybe some woman in New York decides to buy from him, and it's made and shipped to her inside of the States. And that kid never had to know how that was done. He just had to have an idea and some creativity. We want to help enable that type of product creation. Product creation that is now possible, but literally five years ago would have been impossible to even imagine.

So please let us know if you have any feedback on the API, which we have linked here!

We will be expanding on it over time, there will be a limit on the number of signups, so make sure you get over there and grab your API access key as quickly as possible if you really want to try this out. But note this beta is the first initial release. We're hoping developers can build all the nifty apps that we don't have time to create ourselves. We'll continue releasing updates about this and expanding it and showing more demos as time goes by. If you have an app idea that you think should be released in relation to this API - let us know in the comment box below!


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