One of this week's most interesting bits of 3D printing news comes not from a 3D printer manufacturer, but rather a 3D printing service. Sculpteo is introducing batch 3D printing for the masses, allowing you to order large volumes of small plastic shapes to be printed quickly and cheaply. The finished lattices of objects are then shipped back to you for cutting and finishing.
While you might be wondering why one might want 50 small plastic things, rather than just printing out the one, this service has some real life possibilities. Let’s say you've created an awesome custom action figure, printed a few and have them up on Etsy. All of a sudden your action figure goes viral. Demand spikes and your desktop 3D printer just can’t keep up. Sculpteo to the rescue!
Sculpteo’s service includes a very nicely designed user interface to maximize the amount of units per order, customize color and material, and get an estimate cost of production. No word yet on turn-around time or when the service will go live, but the prospect is still quite promising. This approach is eliminating the last two hurdles holding back popular 3D printing: cost and time.