How to Set Up a 3D Printer Farm to Sell Cookie Cutters

Since we print on demand, we can sell zero of a design and it doesn’t cost us anything other than my wife having fun sketching it. If I put a product online and it doesn’t sell, we don’t lose anything.

Mike Benner

Mike and his wife Shey are the founders of Sheyb, an online store where people can find custom 3D printed cookie cutters. They make their own designs and print them on demand. Currently, they have a farm of 30+ printers and their business keeps growing.

In this interview, Mike tells us about:

  • How they started their 3D printing cookie business.
  • How they manage and monitor their 3D printer fleet.
  • How they leverage social media to drive sales.
  • Where Mike sees other business opportunities for 3D printing entrepreneurs.
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How to Start an e-commerce Business with 3D Printers

We were sold on the hype that 3D printers would be in everyone’s home. The reality is that for the average householder, it’s still way too hard to print stuff, let alone useful items. The technology, the materials, the ease-of-use and the content infrastructure around these machines are not there yet.

Desktop 3D printers came down in price dramatically and China flooded the market with cheap 3D printers, allowing almost everyone to gain access to this technology. Meanwhile, the media has turned its attention to industrial technologies after seeing that the people buying low-cost 3D printers are hobbyists that use these machines to make gadgets and figurines that mostly end up in their home shelves if not in the trash.

But the media is overlooking one thing. Many of these hobbyists that have been experimenting with 3D printing technology are also entrepreneurs. Many of them are turning their hobbies into businesses.

Thanks to having over 100.000 3D printer owners in the AstroPrint platform, we are witnessing this emerging trend from a privileged position. We’ve seen how some AstroPrint users went from tinkering with one printer to now run a business with a farm of 30+ printers.

Low-cost 3D printers are allowing people to start their own manufacturing business from home and the digital infrastructure is there for them to find customers. In this post, we’ll give some examples of people that grew into a 3D printing business and the key practices that made them successful.

Ready start your own home-built manufacturing facility with a bunch of low-cost 3D printers?

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AstroPrint Secures Second Round of Funding to Expand our Business and Enterprise Solutions

Press Release: For Immediate Release

We’ve just concluded a very successful second funding round where AstroPrint raised a total of $1M from two prominent VCs: Stanley Ventures and Alma Mundi Ventures. With this new investment, AstroPrint has raised a total of $2.1M, and we are now poised to grow our 3D printing cloud solution that already serves over 95k users from 130 countries.

Who are the Investors?

Stanley Ventures is the venture capital arm of Fortune 500 company Stanley Black & Decker. Stanley Ventures has invested in several companies in the additive manufacturing space, including an investment in a new Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP) 3D printing technology.

Alma Mundi Ventures is a tech venture fund based in Madrid with investors in Palo Alto, New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, orchestrating a global network of over 500 members in 41 cities worldwide. Their investments are primarily global tech startups in the United States and in Europe.

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TinkerCAD and AstroPrint, Together at Last!

We’re happy to announce the AstroPrint integration with Tinkercad is finally live! This has been one of the most requested features on the AstroPrint platform from schools, students, and STEM teachers! And now it’s here!

The Basics

This gives students the ability to do EVERYTHING from 3D model creation => 3D Printing, in the CLOUD. Tinkercad allows them to 3D design in the cloud, and AstroPrint manages 3D Printing of those designs in the cloud.

Tinkercad users can now export their 3D designs directly into their AstroPrint account, right from Tinkercad. Of course, they can then start the 3D Printing process from within AstroPrint.

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How Enterprises can Reduce Costs and get 20X Output in Additive Manufacturing

We often get asked how a system like AstroPrint can save an Enterprise so much money, while dramatically increasing Additive Manufacturing output.  This article will explore one of the primary ways we can do exactly this.

Let’s start with understanding how most Enterprises buy 3D Printers:  In most organizations, an engineer requests a 3D Printer for themselves, or a department.  After lots of bureaucracy, they get this approved and the purchasing process can begin. Being a large organization, they reach out to a public company such as Stratasys or 3D Systems and enter the Enterprise sales cycle of these organizations.  They then go on to purchase a high end 3D Printer with a service contract and advanced (paid) software package to manage the printer.

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AstroPrint Launches Cura 3 Slicing Functionality in the AstroPrint Cloud

AstroPrint ❤️’s Cura 3

First and foremost, we would like to thank Ultimaker & the Cura Open Source Community for creating and open sourcing this slicing engine!

Cura 3 functionality (more specifically, Cura Slicing Engine v3.6.0) is now integrated into the AstroPrint Cloud!  (a week BEFORE Ultimaker is expected to launch it in the new Ultimaker Cloud!)

This means that AstroPrint users can now choose Cura 3.6.0 as their base slicing engine for all of their prints.  Also, 3D Printer Manufacturers can now choose Cura 3.6.0 as the default slicing engine for all of their customers that use the AstroPrint software platform.

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Stanley Black and Decker Partners with AstroPrint to Create a Distributed Network of 3D Printers

AstroPrint Press Release – For Immediate Release – March 13, 2019

Stanley Black & Decker Partners with AstroPrint to Create a Distributed Network of 3D Printers

Hartford, Connecticut – (March 13, 2019)  Today, AstroPrint is announcing a partnership with Stanley Black & Decker (NASDAQ: SWK) to connect, control, and optimize their fleet of 3D printers across multiple facilities. With AstroPrint’s Enterprise Cloud, Stanley Black & Decker will effortlessly automate their Additive Manufacturing systems and workflows on a single platform, ensuring that resources are properly shared and optimized, while gaining actionable intelligence on productivity and growth opportunities.

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TrainLab: How a Toy Manufacturer Uses AstroPrint to Run a Business

TrainLab, a startup toy manufacturer, designs and makes their own toy parts using desktop 3D printers. Like other entrepreneurs, they found a niche where 3D printing made sense and started a business around it.

They started making train track adapters and connectors for kids, selling them on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy and on their own online store.


In this post, Scot Refsland, founder of Trainlab, tells us about how they leverage AstroPrint software to maximize their 3D printer fleet productivity and scale their business.

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How MetalMaker 3D is using AstroPrint to Disrupt the $200B Metal Casting Industry

Lots of innovators are using AstroPrint to power their startup businesses, but none more innovative than the good folks at MetalMaker 3D.

About MetalMaker 3D

MetalMaker 3D has created a mini Foundry system that quickly and easily produces cast-metal parts that do not have the limitations of 3D Printed metal.  MetalMaker 3D parts are dramatically cheaper, faster, and stronger that parts made from traditional metal Additive Manufacturing processes. (more…)

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