There are literally hundreds of 3D Printing companies out there. But who does what. Here are several of the most popular 3D Printing service companies for your next prototype or production project.
Carbon 3D - Resin-Based 3D Printing
For very intricate parts that require a smooth surface finish.
Carbon 3D manufactures high speed SLA 3D Printers using thier Carbon CLIP technology. These printers are used to create dentures, Bicycle seats, and even a line of shoes for Adidas.
The surface finish of SLA parts is very good, comparable to injection molding, but they can be expensive if they are very large or low volume. SLA is also able to handle very fine features well that are impossible with any of the other processes.
Carbon will connect you to services that use their technology. One of the most well known partners is Fast Radius. They have also worked with adidas to manufacture the Alphaedge 4D shoe.
Slant 3D - High Volume 3D Printing
Functional and cost effective alternative to injection molding at scales up to 100,000 pieces
Slant 3D operates one of the largest capacity 3D printer farms in the world. The original facility is able to produce 10,000 parts per week and Slant 3D is about to open an even larger facility with over 800 machines in the printer farm.
Slant 3D uses the FDM 3D Printing process. These parts are robust and excellent for functional products and industrial components. Slant 3D also produces pieces for consumer products and is able to fulfill orders as they are made.
Forecast 3D - Multijet Fusion
Functional parts based in nylon for engineering and functional applications.
Forecast 3D actually utilizes a large number of 3D printing processes. A company that has been in operation since the 90's Forecast was among the first to implement HP Multijet Fusion. Today they operate 24 MJF machines and made more than 1 million parts in the first year.
MJF is a process that creates high surface finish parts that are nearly isotropic. But it is limited to gray/black coloring and is only viable for production on pieces that are smaller.
Shapeways - Laser Sintering
Delicate and fine detail parts from specialty materials
Shapeways is easily one of the oldest 3D printing services. Started in 2007 they have established themselves as an online print on demand platform for designers. Shapeways offers predominantly laser sintering services. Which allows them to create fine detail items ranging from rubber-like plastic to gold.
If you are a jewelry designer or have a small and precise part to make Shapeways is a good option.
Voodoo Manufacturing - FDM
One-off prints to test a part and potentially scale up to 100-1000
Voodoo Manufacturing is another larger FDM printer farm. Utilizing Replicator II Makerbot machines and Formlabs SLA parts Voodoo is able to produce 1-off parts very quickly and quite affordably. Their 3D Printer farm of nearly 150 machines also allows you to scale up production to nearly 1000 parts.
Selection of Suppliers with defined standards and various 3D Printing Processes.
Another old name in the 3D Printing world. 3D Hubs was started as a network of independent garage 3D printers. In 2017-2018 they refocused on industrial 3D Printing.
They now connect customers with 3D printing services that are ISO certified and held to very high standards. They are an excellent resource for finding new suppliers and having prototypes produced that are engineering grade.