How I started running a hub instead of a B&B

Teaming up with my boyfriend, I think that 3D Hubs is the second guilty party on getting me into 3D printing.

3D Hubs is an online 3D printing service platform. It’s also known as the Airbnb for 3D printers. It operates a network of 3D printers with over 20,000 locations in over 150 countries (more even than Mcdonalds), providing over 1 billion people access to a 3D printer within 10 miles of their home. By connecting everyone to nearby 3D printer owners, 3D Hubs is accelerating a future of local and on-demand production.

After the corporate speech, I’ll describe my personal experience with 3D Hubs. As part of the philosophy of 3D Hubs, their network of 3D printers has implied the concept of community. There are different communities of 3D Hubs around the world: Paris, London, New York, Barcelona, Verona, Bilbao, Vancouver… And every community has a “Mayor” who is responsible for organizing events and support the community. Nathan requested to be the Mayor of the Community in Vancouver nearly two years ago, and when I met him, he was looking for a location to host one of the workshops. I have background in event organization, so helping him was the perfect opportunity for me to start networking in Canada. In the last year, we have organized three different meetups so, finally, I think I’ve won the title of “First Lady” of the Community in Vancouver.

If you are considering joining 3D Hubs, I strongly recommend you requesting the position of Mayor. It is an excellent way to build a reputation in the community and consequently receive more orders in your hub.

Regardless of the position of Mayor of the community, 3D Hubs has given me the opportunity to deal with real printing projects. I remember when I decided to have my own printer. I spent the first few days with my new toy playing, mostly downloading and printing models from Thingiverse. A vase, a keychain, miniatures… However, orders that come to you through 3D Hubs are real projects from more or less professional people. I remember my first client. He is camera in the film industry here in Vancouver. He designed with his iPad a mount for his camera equipment. The design software he was using offered him the option to go to 3D Hubs and upload the 3D model. He chose a hub less than 10km away from home, and within 48 hours and $12 he had the custom piece in his hands. He was like a kid with new shoes! He has been making various modifications to the prototype, and he always comes back to me for his prints. My experience with 3D Hubs has been great, not just for the money you can do with the orders, also because you gradually learn to analyze models, suggest different materials or design modifications to customers.

And finally, joining 3D Hubs is a way to learn about this technology. You don’t need to own a 3D printer or have any project to print. You can just check the different talks where you can ask questions, be up to date with 3D printers, materials, and events in your area.

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