Dutch Start-Ups Pioneer in 3D Printing
AMSTERDAM, 08/06/13 - Dutch companies are in the vanguard on 3D-printing. In a short period, three companies have been started in this new market.
The newest shoot in the Dutch 3D print sector is 3D Hubs. Set up in April, the company from Amsterdam has already made the first contacts for expansion in cities ranging from Kuala Lumpur to Kansas City. "But the focus is still on the Netherlands and the rest of Europe,” says Bram de Zwart, one of the two founders. "After that, it will be the turn of the US and the rest of the world.”
With 3D Hubs, De Zwart and co-founder Brian Garret emphasise that the Netherlands, with the US, is a model country for a technology that trend-watchers say will conquer the world. For industry, 3D printing offers opportunities to produce faster and cheaper, for consumers the possibility of making things themselves that they have designed.
3D Hubs is targeting the consumer market. Other Dutch pioneers are also doing this, such as Ultimaker of Geldermalsen and ShapeWays, an Eindhoven-based spin-off of Philips.
Ultimaker is making a 3D printer for home use. The equipment costs something over 1,000 euros and enables people to make rings, vases or pictures, for example, in their garage or attic.
Shapeways is there for people who have no printer themselves, but do want to make their ‘own’ products. They send their design via the web, after which a printer of Shapeways in New York or Endhoven gets to work. The end-product is then shipped to the client.
3D Hubs does more or less the same as Shapeways, but has no printers itself. Instead, the Amsterdam start-up wants to collect as many printers as possible in as many cities as possible. Clients have to pick up their products from the printing operative themselves.