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Author Topic: [ANN] 3D Printing Service for BTC http://www.3dp4btc.com  (Read 2322 times)
EtherDais
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March 04, 2013, 03:43:59 AM
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3DP 4 BTC   Additive manufacturing in the digital economy               (http://www.3dp4btc.com)

**Updated 6/5/2013  

See this coverage of our service:  http://cryptojunky.com/blog/2013/05/27/3d-printing-for-bitcoin-combining-disruptive-technologies/ 

There are a number of services currently available (Shapeways, Ponoko, etc.)  which will take your fiat currency and 3D print you something from an STL file format.  To our knowledge, no one has been offering to 3D print objects for bitcoin (*at the time of writing, TechPaladin announced a similar service).  We're trying to change that, delivering you 3D printed goods made using entirely open-source methods (on our end), to expand the body of services/products available for BTC.  With 3D filament suppliers like ProtoParadigm and TechPaladin offering supplies for BTC, it is possible for this service to be somewhat self-sustaining in that we could potentially use BTC for filament (the primary cost of printing is the material used).  Our offerings will expand as we get more requests and suggestions. The more feedback we receive, the better we might become as a service, but the essence is something along the lines of "BTC in, widget of your choice out".  

We already have the 3D printers (and didn't take out loans to get them like many companies trying to do this) so it seems like a natural opportunity to expand the ecosystem of BTC acceptors.   As others have expressed, this sort of service gives them something snappy to respond with when their dismissive friend asks "But what can you really buy with bitcoin anyway? Seems stupid to me!"

"Well, I use Bitcoin to get anything* I want 3D printed!"  you can reply. -- Take that, cynical friend!

As we don't have investors and we haven't quit our day jobs to do this,  the 3DP4BTC project is very much a labor of love and an experiment in what the community can do to bootstrap itself.   Trust and reputation are an important part of any process, and so we are starting small, working with whomever trickles in first, before expanding to a more involved system.  

While there were several initial expressions of interest in the limited venues we polled, only a few BTC users have come knocking so far.  To those of you:  You’re our first customers, and we want to make sure that you’re happy with what you’ve received before making big promises that we can’t keep (like staying in operation).  


*We are not trying to get ourselves in deep water so we might have to be selective regarding certain jobs.  More to say on this when our lawyers translate recent legal statutes from parseltongue to common english.

Capabilities:

    What is the maximum/minimum size of the objects you can build?

We currently offer a maximum build volume of 200mm x 200mm x 120mm, though there are often ways to construct larger objects using prints of sub-components. We are looking to expand this volume in time.


Pricing and Payment:
We are using Shapeways pricing as a starting point, asking ⅘ of whatever Shapeways would ask for a similar thing converted to BTC (plus a small shipping fee (typically 0.15 - 0.25BTC)).  Extremely dense prints (for some specific application and not just for show) may cost more to cover materials.  Once the price is agreed upon it is set for the order.  If we feel that your object is likely going to take a few attempts to get correct, we will endeavour to express these concerns in advance, and include that in our proposed offer.  We are open to bids for projects.

We are currently using/reviewing several payment schemes:
A)  After agreement, object is printed and a photo is sent to customer.  Customer deposits ½ of total.  Object is shipped and Customer deposits final ½ of total price.    

B)  After agreement, ⅓ is deposited to facilitate printing.  Object is printed and photo returned to customer.  Customer deposits ⅓ of total.  Object is shipped and Customer deposits final ⅓ of total price.    

C) Escrow through Bitmit (2% fee)
Once we've agreed to an order and your order is finished, a buy it now for your order is put onto bitmit with Escrow.  You may then purchase the item, pay Bitmit, and release the fees upon receipt of the item.  

We are currently defaulting to "Plan C" for new customers, with Plan A as an option for return customers.  

Shipping:
When it comes to shipping, we’re planning to eat the fees currently, until we find someone selling stamps for BTC or something.  As we include a small BTC fee for this (typically ~0.10-0.25 BTC US, 0.2-0.5 BTC International), we feel that it’s worth paying out of pocket until someone (I’m lookin at you UPS/USPS) gets their act together and accepts BTC for such things.  Again, this is relying on the low-volume service we are offering and may be forced to evolve if demand grows beyond our capability to sustain this model.  


On color availability:
  http://imgur.com/s3TKTOn
We will have a somewhat limited color selection until we can afford to buy more colors from PP.   If there's enough interest, we intend to make separate accounts for new color acquisition which people can donate to, as opposed to a more general donation to help the service.  Donations are not a part of our business plan, though we hope that happy customers might want to help expand our capabilities for future orders.   If there's a particularly colored small thing you want, just ask.  We might have a little nip of some odd color around, as we've had time to collect them.  (Certainly enough for a bitcoin simulacra, for example)


Expansion of service:
We're currently serving one or two people at a time, working with them to make sure that they get what they want, hopefully without delay.  The simpler the request, the better.  If you have a model that others have printed before, it’s much more likely that we can print it without issue.  If you have a new design of your own, we will work with you to negotiate any design problems.
In this sense, there is already a queue - contact us (me) to get in line.
 
In the long term, development of a BTC powered printing cloud isn't out of the question, either.  It would be really neat to synch up printers with projects nearby (ala http://www.makexyz.com/), potentially removing the need for postage (or as much postage perhaps, at least certainly reducing the time from maker to owner)
however there are some issues:  Not everyone with a 3D printer can be trusted to deliver a quality part.  We’re going to set that idea aside until we feel that it’s worth trying to implement (like if we can’t keep track of the submitted orders)

In short:  the more that people make use of this service, the more opportunity we will have to expand beyond what we are currently capable of offering.  If nothing else, it seemed cool to be able to turn BTC into real objects.  

I'm looking to continue this conversation in further detail.




History:  I had posted some info along these lines last week and found a first customer on Thursday.  His order was shipped friday and perhaps he will be kind enough to give some feedback when his order arrives (hopefully Monday tomorrow).  We are happily awaiting more orders, so if you want something printed do let me know.  

I think we're open to suggestions as far as operation goes, so please contribute your thoughts!   Our website should improve and evolve over time, and so we're open to suggestions there as well.  

Also, Please ask questions so that we can build our FAQ!    Frequently Asked Questions   http://www.3dp4btc.com/faq/

-ED

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March 04, 2013, 01:20:40 PM
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Hey good luck with your project!

Have been watching the 3D printing space for a while (it's going to get a hell of a lot bigger) and I think you're onto something Smiley

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March 04, 2013, 04:13:43 PM
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Other discussions of this topic were previously held here:

http://www.rugatu.com/questions/8469/would-anyone-be-interested-in-paying-btc-for-3d-printed-stuff
http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/19ddvi/in_the_spirit_of_accelerando_im_looking_to_be/

But clearly, any additional feedback/input would be appreciated.  This includes suggestions for spreading awareness more widely here on the forums without pissing everyone off by looking like a spammer.  Thanks!
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March 04, 2013, 05:30:32 PM
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Other discussions of this topic were previously held here:

http://www.rugatu.com/questions/8469/would-anyone-be-interested-in-paying-btc-for-3d-printed-stuff
http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/19ddvi/in_the_spirit_of_accelerando_im_looking_to_be/

But clearly, any additional feedback/input would be appreciated.  This includes suggestions for spreading awareness more widely here on the forums without pissing everyone off by looking like a spammer.  Thanks!

Thanks for the links!

Some things you could do here on the forums:

- Hold a competition / raffle and give the winner a freebie
- Buy forum members' signature space
- Do a 3D printing of a Bitcoin? Ha ha I don't know why but I think that'd be cool!

I'd recommend doing some things like this:

- Listing http://www.3dp4btc.com on all the websites online that list places which accept Bitcoin
- Doing a Press Release so that the world knows about you! (Not that I'm biased or anything Smiley
- Maybe advertising with Operation Fabulous
- Some other general online marketing for your project (directory submissions, SEO, etc)
- Promoting your service on forums / communities focussed on 3D printing as well as promoting through the BTC community

If you 3D printed Bitcoins and then added holographic seals to them so they were an actual store of BTC value? Ok my imagination is going into over drive now!




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March 05, 2013, 12:23:21 AM
 #5

Actually, the printed bitcoin thing is an idea that i'd had for a while.   Particularly in that we can print NFC tags into objects and still read/write to them afterwards.   I'm looking for the best design (which we might need to make), but something like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:31333   seems close.

Not having the BTC to load the coins with any unique private keys (and really, you've got to trust the guys making physical bitcoins in the extreme since they had access to that key before they put a seal on it and gave it to you), we're not in the position to offer a loaded coin, but an unloaded bitcoin simulacra would be pretty easy to do.  The cost of the material is pretty small, the NFC tags are a 1-2 $ depending on the data size you want.    You could then do a few things with your BTC simulacra:

-load a private key onto it for cold storage
-load a public address onto it for NFC-enabled swipe and pay goodness (giving you an opportunity to explain how far ahead of the curve you are to everyone)
-load a link to a (your?) website where people can do something BTC related (or perhaps the main project page)
-program the NFC tag to load your favorite BTC-related app when you swipe it with your phone
-(your awesome idea here)

BTC simulacra would be something like .15BTC plus .15BTC shipping (constant shipping for bulk orders, with a small break in cost per simulacra when ordered in higher numbers)
We could do LTC simulacra as well - both gold and silver PLA are available. 
danieldaniel
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March 05, 2013, 12:29:35 AM
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I have a 3D printed Bitcoin.  It's not the exact one that you linked, but it was from thingiverse.  http://grab.by/kpVO

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March 05, 2013, 12:35:14 AM
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I just want to thank EtherDais for his excellent service. I ordered this Ball in Cage with a twist http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:42074 since I was looking for a conversation starter for my desk. Within a few hours of ordering I had a couple of pictures of a test he did for me since it was a tricky object.

After I ok'd the test, the final item was printed and mailed the next day. That was Friday. Today I got it and it looked just as I expected.

Etherdais also added this little 3d-printed surprise.


(it's a bottle opener)

So, great purchase. I've had good experiences with many Bitcoin merchants but this one is the best so far.

Find a Bitcoin ATM location near you for cash exchange.
Buy eBooks, music, graphics, videos and more at CoinDL: https://www.coindl.com - Github: https://github.com/weex
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March 05, 2013, 01:10:19 AM
 #8

I have a 3D printed Bitcoin.  It's not the exact one that you linked, but it was from thingiverse.  http://grab.by/kpVO

Daniel2, I actually like that model much more than the one that I linked.  Do you have the STL file that was used? 
We could size it to sneak a 33mm NFC tag into it quite easily. 

Thanks for the kind words, weex. 
str4wm4n
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March 05, 2013, 03:25:42 AM
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would you print these?

defcad.org/defdist-ar-15-lower-receiver/

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March 05, 2013, 03:32:57 AM
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Good stuff!  Great new service.  Now I need to find a good shape to print.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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EtherDais
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March 05, 2013, 03:38:41 AM
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Sorry, zee website seems to be morphing a bit, but our FAQ addresses this here (if it doesn't address your question well enough, PM me):  http://www.3dp4btc.com/faq/

At this point, no.  Our legal council has advised against such things, particularly as we're being pretty open about all of this. 

I'd be happy to have a conversation about why you think we should be doing it, or what it might take for this service to be a part of the community, but right now we're trying to print non-weapon sort of things. 
There's a huge legal grey area here.  If we had a serious legal defense fund, a corporate body to take the heat, and we wanted to try to go to the supreme court, that's one thing.  Right now it would be my ass in gitmo, most likely.....  Are you a pro bono lawyer by chance? Lips sealed
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March 05, 2013, 08:59:55 AM
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It would be cool if you could scan shapes with a microsoft kinect controller and get them printed out.


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March 05, 2013, 05:01:17 PM
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It would be cool if you could scan shapes with a microsoft kinect controller and get them printed out.

While feasible, this would be beyond the services which we are currently willing to offer.  If you have something in particular which you want we might be able to find something similar or design it from scratch.   

I do know some folks who 3D scan things - it can be a big pain.    I'm personally waiting the development of open source photo-based scanning software which will stitch together images and export STL files, at which time we will be set. (You will find that there are a number of efforts on this front currently if you search around.)
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March 05, 2013, 10:08:36 PM
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It would be cool if you could scan shapes with a microsoft kinect controller and get them printed out.

While feasible, this would be beyond the services which we are currently willing to offer.  If you have something in particular which you want we might be able to find something similar or design it from scratch.   

I do know some folks who 3D scan things - it can be a big pain.    I'm personally waiting the development of open source photo-based scanning software which will stitch together images and export STL files, at which time we will be set. (You will find that there are a number of efforts on this front currently if you search around.)
That sounds like 123D Catch (more or less).  Because I took pictures of a kleenex box, and it auto-generated an STL file.  These are my export options on autocad's website:



So, you would be able to print based on the .STL file?

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March 05, 2013, 10:12:56 PM
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So, you would be able to print based on the .STL file?

Yep, as long as the surfaces are well oriented and it's without holes.  Some scanned objects can have artifacts which need to be cleaned up prior to printing.  In general,  STL files are the only thing we currently accept as a data format, though it's a pretty common export format at this point.   IF someone has an OBJ that they REALLY want to print, we can probably help them out if we have to.   
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March 05, 2013, 10:35:13 PM
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So, you would be able to print based on the .STL file?

Yep, as long as the surfaces are well oriented and it's without holes.  Some scanned objects can have artifacts which need to be cleaned up prior to printing.  In general,  STL files are the only thing we currently accept as a data format, though it's a pretty common export format at this point.   IF someone has an OBJ that they REALLY want to print, we can probably help them out if we have to.   
Neat!  I am very likely to try this out once I have some more coins on hand.

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March 05, 2013, 10:35:51 PM
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So, you would be able to print based on the .STL file?

Yep, as long as the surfaces are well oriented and it's without holes.  Some scanned objects can have artifacts which need to be cleaned up prior to printing.  In general,  STL files are the only thing we currently accept as a data format, though it's a pretty common export format at this point.   IF someone has an OBJ that they REALLY want to print, we can probably help them out if we have to.   
You can convert the OBJ to STL pretty easily, IIRC.  I get to use the 3D printers at my local library whenever I want (I volunteer there twice a week).  Free plastic and everything! Cheesy

Also, I don't have the STL off hand, but it was from thingiverse IIRC.  

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March 06, 2013, 01:25:23 AM
 #18

I recently just got a 3D printer myself, and found a couple people willing to accept BTC for filament and supplies:

Open Source Powered Cool guys, recently bought a bunch of colors from them.

ProtoParadigm Good selection of stuff, I just got laser cut spools so I can limit the exposure of my stash.

I also spoke with the guy who runs Makers Tools Works in #reprap and he seemed pretty hip to accept BTC in the near future as well.  Send him an email requesting BTC payments, and they should get on board pretty soon.

I only have a wee little Printrbot Jr., and I'm still learning to ropes.  Managed to get it running rather stable though, a couple 8+ hour prints under my belt (in PLA).  I might be interested in printing some of the smaller (130mm x 110mm x 100mm) things out for you if you had too much of a backlog, or helping out with design/modeling/conversion of formats.

Good luck, BTW.  It's awesome to see what you guys are doing. XD

**EDIT**

I forgot to add that I, too, have dabbled with a "Bitcoin Coin" in the past...
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March 06, 2013, 10:45:12 AM
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very cool. i use shapeways frequently, and i'd be happy to have my models printed for BTC, or do some modeling work. is your printer limited to ABS plastic? for some of my projects i've found that to be too brittle, while shapeways "white strong a flexible" (i think it's a nylon polymer) was fine.

My 3D printing Shapeways shop: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/elysium Want something custom? Send me a pm. tips - 1F4j4Lha8BjL4wxwFVbGaQwMJ4Kd1brfXb
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March 06, 2013, 10:47:00 AM
 #20

This sounds like a great service :)

Best of luck!

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