In this episode of the Digital Factory Podcast, I speak with Bram de Zwart, co-founder and CEO of 3D Hubs. The company significantly reoriented its business last fall; it had previously offered 3D printing through a network of small-scale printer owners, many of whom were hobbyists operating inexpensive machines. Now it’s turned to address the commercial market, connecting engineers and designers with professionally-operated service bureaus. The change, Bram says, reflects trends the company saw in demand–faster growth in the professional market–as well as the need to be able to meet stringent engineering requirements in high-value fields.
3D Hubs has amassed a considerable amount of data on 3D printing in its six years of operation, and plans to apply its recent $18 million round of fundraising toward becoming an AI-driven, fully automated operation. Quoting is already mostly automated, and the goal is to become a trusted arbiter of fair prices for manufacturing.
Brian Garret, the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of 3D Hubs, is speaking at The Digital Factory Conference on May 7 in Boston, along with more than 40 other CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, and front-line manufacturing leaders. Register soon! The Digital Factory sold out last year.
Bram’s favorite tool: the Dutch bicycle, a style of bike that’s sturdy and ideal for short trips around cities–and cheap, which helps if it gets stolen. A new generation of Dutch bike manufacturers is introducing updated e-bikes, including VanMoof, a startup that produces an anti-theft smart bike and guarantees replacement for $98 if it’s stolen.