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B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion


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Posted · B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion

Hey Folks,


I am printing for a long time, and I always assumed that 3d printing will grow for professional  (which is done) but also for consumer. Ultimaker is now one of the major leader of  3d printing with the FFF technology. But still no B to C functionality is available ?

I think is there huge possibilities to have a  B to C streaming functionality >> For example a digital marketplace where we can sell objects, with the right of streaming the gcode in your Ultimaker.

Obviously this can only work if some rules are existing.

- The 3d print is setup and sliced only for Ultimaker, which will assure the quality of the print.

- The marketplace is only working for Ultimaker owners.

- Will bring confidence to user that the print is specially done for Ultimaker and no other 3d printer

- Will bring to ultimaker some additional revenue as the access of this functionality is not free and will open the 3d printer to a larger base as today.


Is there any plan one day that a full digital marketplace only for Ultimaker will exist ? and what is the reason do not do it ?


What is thoughts ?








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    Posted · B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion

    Hello, since you have a reply here I have removed your other post. Please don't post the same message in different locations. 


    To answer your question, 3D printing has existed for a very long time already, owned by Stratasys and 3D systems with high end machines for B2B. When their patents expired a huge stream of open source 3D printers rose (as us) and in the first couple of years this new trend was really focussed on B2C. Some printers still are (look at Creality, Prusa, etc). When we grew and matured we recognized a better fit with our brand and what we had to offer in the B2B market, which we evolved into. What I am saying is; there was and still is 3D printing for B2C.


    What you describe has quite a few challenges like ensuring quality, streaming (without storing the file anywhere) and possibly encryption. It is a lot of extra work where platforms like youmagine and thingiverse offer countless of files for free. The downside is that the file is not prepped for your machine, but since you will be making parts that you will actually use (assuming it is not only trinkets) applications may vary widely and it is important you know how your machine works, what material properties are and how to ensure your part is suited for the task. The upside is that all of that is not a concern of the seller and the bar to share and distribute files is lower, creating a wider offer which attracts a larger audience. 


    So a marketplace to sell gcodes I don't really expect. STLs, yes. There are already various platforms that do this. 

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    Posted · B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion

    Hi @SandervG ,


    Thanks for your reply and sorry for my late one...

    Indeed there is a lot of challenge to get the full power of digitalization, from Designers to sell to users who print digital files via streaming.

    All the existing marketplace such thingiverse, Cult3d, YouMagine and others dozen of this are just like "bazaar sell" without any Design approach, branding, quality , Intellectual Property  or any professional design for 3d print, most of the people put their stuff to be print for free and also sometime crazy expensive, and final consumer print 1 or 2 times and then do not see the purpose of 3d printing. Then those platform will remain only a small part of the business.


    Releasing the full power of the 3d printing is to go to another step, taking the 3d printing technology as its best and developing new business model for the 3d printer makers and the professional designer to sell. In order to achieve that and as you said many challenges are ahead.


    Regarding the Challenge you mention.

    - Streaming >> Now days network providers have high standard in term of stability, then streaming is not an issue. In addition 5g will change the game regarding the streaming.

    - You are totally right, as you mention "how to ensure your part is suited for the task" that why I am in contact with you. The fact a closed ecosystem with only Ultimaker (HW and SW) a strict rules regarding the all the aspect that is needed to get a good quality >> The design must used Ultimaker and the customer must use Ultimaker too.


    All the advantages for Ultimaker providing such service are I think, positive in term of business.

    - Having an additional sources of revenues. Like Apple store, you can get some % for each streaming.

    - Make Ultimakers users more open  and confident to print well design objects, to which will benefit to Ultimaker in term of brand image.

    - Owner of a professional design ecosystem which also can  deal with consumer , which afterwards can lead to a standard which also bring its benefits.

    - Having a clear IP management which is must have for professional and consumer to gain confidence.

    - Be the first to have a proper marketplace both BtoB and BtoC with strict use of IP.


    I am indeed interesting by this technology as I will use it, then is Ultimaker is interesting to develop such possibilities ?  or is a third party can develop such close marketplace with obviously business agreement with both parties ?


    Thanks in advance,


    Ubikk Team.



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    Posted · B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion



    Design approach and branding don't mean a thing without content and accessibility. If a user is solely relying on those platforms for their 3D printable content they may have to ask themselves if they're using the potential of 3D printing to its fullest. I don't think these platforms eventually make people loose sight of the purpose of 3D printing. The viability of these generic platforms perhaps, yes.


    Regarding streaming, I didn't mean the ability to create a stable connection but transferring ownership of a file. Ensuring a copy never ends up with the consumer may be quite difficult, and alternatively not ensuring this undermines the commercial basis of such a platform because endless copies can be created and distributed digitally.

    I don't know if it is possible to encrypt files in a way to ensure security but allow the printer to read the file, I am not a software engineer. Perhaps it is possible.


    5 hours ago, Ubikk said:

    then is Ultimaker is interesting to develop such possibilities ?


    In all honesty I don't think we are. 


    5 hours ago, Ubikk said:

    or is a third party can develop such close marketplace..


    If you or another third party sees this as a viable model, by all means you should go for it! 


    5 hours ago, Ubikk said:

    ..with obviously business agreement with both parties ?


    I don't think this matches our current goals and objectives, sorry! 





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    Posted · B to C 3d Print streaming // Open discussion

    If I understood it correctly, you mean this: buying a gcode-file from unknown source, with unknown settings, tested on unknown printers with unknown materials all differing from yours, and then hoping it is not going to ruin your printer, crash the nozzle into the glass or the walls, overheat, produce spaghetti and clogs,...? No, I am not going to risk that, no way.


    Probably not too many other people either.


    There are just way too many settings that have to be customised to produce the exact results you want, for your purpose, your printer, your filament: speed, layer-height, nozzle temp, bed temp, cooling fan, first layer-settings, and so on...


    This is the reason why a lot of schools and maker-labs do not accept "print-ready" gcode-files anymore. They learned that the hard way. Now they require STL or similar, and they require it to be sliced and printed by their own qualified tech people, or qualified students with plenty of experience (e.g. student jobs).


    This in addition to all the remarks above.


    At best, I would consider buying an STL-file, if proven solid without defects, or better the real design-files (STEP-files), so I can examine and adapt the design. But only if it was a really valuable design, such as let's say a beautiful combustion engine demo model, or something like that. But probably I would just design it from scratch myself.


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