A website that connects 3D printer owners to people wanting to try out the new technology has gone public and received investment from a London-headquartered venture capital firm.

Amsterdam-based 3D Hubs announced yesterday that it has launched its website and raised an undisclosed sum of money in its first funding round, with the help of tech investors Balderton Capital.

The firm says it wants to make 3D printing locally accessible to everyone by “unlocking” 3D printers that aren’t being used around the world and facilitating transactions between printer owners and people in the local area that want to make 3D prints.

3D printing is a manufacturing technique that enables people to produce three dimensional objects from digital designs by adding layers of material on top of each other, in a process also known as additive manufacturing.

3D Hubs said the money will be used to help expand its network of 3D printers globally and build out its six person team.

Owners of 3D printers can sign up to the website if they want their information to be listed on their local “Hub”.

3D Hubs claims that those who print objects for other people can expect to make €30 (£26) for each item they produce but said that earnings can range from €5 to €250, depending on the size of the object.

3D Hubs takes a 15 percent charge on top of the quoted price for each print. In return, the start-up performs a quality check for each design that is uploaded, delivers the order and processes the payment.

3D Hubs CEO and co-founder Bram de Zwart said: “Much like music did with the rise of the internet, manufacturing has begun to take an industry-changing peer-to-peer form. 3D Hubs is at the forefront of this trend, enabling anyone with a 3D printer to make customised local goods for their community.”

However, recent developments suggest there are an increasing number of people looking to try and buy 3D printers themselves.

A 3D printing school was launched by iMakr in London this month to help businesses and individuals learn how to use 3D printing machines.

Meanwhile, electronics retailer Maplin recently made a £700 3D printer available for purchase via their website. However, some scientists have hit out and said that 3D printing could have negative health impacts. 

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