3D printing is changing how products around the world are made. By connecting potential users to local 3D printer owners, Hubs’ sharing-based business model is accelerating a future of local, on-demand production.

3D printers can cost from $600 for basic units to more than $100,000 for higher-spec models, and they will often be under-utilised. To maximise usage and improve access for all,  Hubs (fmr. 3D Hubs) have created an online service that connects 3D printer owners with potential users. Users upload a design, choose a nearby 3D printing location, pay for the service and pick up their product when it is finished printing. The company offers two-day delivery for products, which is five times faster than the industry standard, according to the company.

The network currently boasts over 7,000 printing service providers in more than 150 countries. According to Hubs, the company’s platform solves the problem of access and efficiency in 3D printing by connecting up to one billion people worldwide to a 3D printer within ten miles of their home. In doing so, they are facilitating a future of local and on-demand manufacturing that can reduce overproduction of plastic products, limit storage requirements and cut transportation costs.

We believe in local, community-based creation and on-demand production that solves the current inefficiency of centralized mass production.

Bram de Zwart – CEO and co-founder, Hubs.

Why you should care

McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the global 3D printing market could be worth $230 billion to $550 billion per year by 2025. 3D printing enables prototypes, components and other goods to be made locally, which – if used responsibly – can reduce the environmental impacts of transport and industrial waste. Hubs is accelerating and democratizing this process by opening up the world of 3D printing to more users.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Hubs’ community-based platform promotes interaction between designers and local manufacturers, helping to ensure both resource-efficient production and quicker delivery.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Localized 3D printing can potentially reduce the environmental impacts by optimising production, facilitating product assembly, and reducing shipping requirements.

Climate Action

By moving production closer to end users, Hubs reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with long-distance shipping and delivery.