3D Hubs’ model is a novel one, which they compare to Amazon and Spotify. Their slideshow cites Tom Goodwin: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
Today, this company is present in more countries than McDonald’s. They put 1 billion people within 10 miles of a 3D printer.
“If I weren’t so into 3D printing itself, I’d be on the other side, using this service,” says Jason. In fact, he has outsourced parts of a job via 3D Hubs itself — employing another shop with a higher-resolution resin printer, then delivering everything to the original customer, who desired results with as little fuss as possible.
Even for makers with their own printers, maintenance and tweaking can make employing someone else worthwhile. As Dev Kumar said on a recent Facebook thread: “The state of consumer-level 3D printers is kind of like the early days of computers, or Ham radio — you might spend a lot of time using your 3D printer to print parts to improve the fiddly performance of your 3D printer.”