How to Set Up a 3D Printer Farm to Sell Drone Parts

I think it’s just about identifying a gap in the market and coming up with a design or product that could potentially fill that gap. 3D printing allows you to create products that don’t currently exist in the market

Neil Watts

Neil Watts is a 3D printing enthusiast who has turned his hobby into a business. His online store, Aero3D, sells custom accessories for drones to customers worldwide. Neil doesn’t have a background in design, but he’s taught himself to design parts with basic cad software.

In this interview, Neil tells us about:

  • How he found an opportunity in custom drone parts and how other 3D printing enthusiasts can find market niches.
  • How he finds clients without spending a penny on marketing.
  • How he manages to run 13 printers simultaneously while still keeping his corporate job.
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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 a 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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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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Max-K: How a StartUp Launches a Printer with AstroPrint and Google Assistant

Last month, Max-K (Emot3D), a start-up manufacturer based in Mexico, presented its new 3D printer at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The printer comes with Google Assistant and it’s powered by AstroPrint software. Thanks to both integrations, the 3D printer can be controlled from any device and print with a few clicks. In addition, you can control multiple printers from one device and execute voice commands specific to the 3D printer such as bed leveling.

We asked Jose Luis Ku, founder of the company, about his experience making a smart 3D printer:

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AstroPrint Powered 3D Printers at NY MakerFaire!

Last weekend, we walked around the NY MakerFaire and had the pleasure to see the first AstroPrint powered 3D printer that appears in public. Yay!

Our friends at IMADE3D showed a prototype of their new JellyBox printer running AstroPrint software.  This colorful printer allows students to learn about 3D printing by building their own printer. Unlike most DIY 3D printers, this one is actually easy and fun to build.

One of the challenges after students build the printer is to get them excited about printing things. Until now, engineering grade software and horrible user interfaces haven’t helped with this. People can get discouraged by non-intuitive UIs, lack of networking capabilities and the time-consuming process of going from CAD file to physical object.

This is where AstroPrint comes to help💪. Students can now print files right from the touchscreen, controlling and monitoring remotely and much more. Basically, they now fall in love when they build the printer, and when they use it 😍😍

We’ll be announcing more partnerships over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

 

 

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3 Benefits of AstroPrint OEM Dashboard

If phone and computer manufacturers can make software upgrades over-the-air, why 3D printer manufacturers can’t?

From AstroPrint OEM dashboard you can now control all software aspects of your 3D printer line, getting three main benefits from it:

1. Better Quality Prints

For most 3D printers today, users have to tinker until they find the proper slicer settings. Or, they have to download recommended slicer settings to make their own printer profiles. AstroPrint has solved this issue, allowing manufacturers control their slicer settings in a centralized way.

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AstroBoxTouch: New Customization Levels for 3D Printer Manufacturers

Many 3D printer manufacturers are preinstalling AstroPrint software in their printers. Just like Lenovo preinstalls Windows in computers, or Samsung preinstalls Android in phones.

Our goal at AstroPrint is to help manufacturers make smart 3D printers, replacing their antiquated software. But each printer is different and as a manufacturer, you want software tailored for your printers. This is why we are giving you more and more flexibility to customize Astrobox software to meet the specific needs of your Hardware:

Branding

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