The rise of 3D printing, the design and creation of objects using a material printer, is currently hindered by accessibility. Few own personal printers or know where to go to use one. However, according to Lara Piras of PSFK, commercially viable 3D printing is now a possibility with Netherlands-based 3D Hubs. The online company allows at-home designers to connect with locals who own 3D printers, arrange for payment for the printing of their creations, and then receive their material products, ideally without leaving their community.
Co-founders Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret envision their system as a reinstatement of local production, a reaction to current globalization, which they believe paints laborers as “faceless links in a complex and obscure global process.” Their 3D printing hubs allow citizens to design products and then see their production, means and end, face-to-face. After uploading designs to the 3D Hubs website, at-home designers can search for 3D printer owners in their area, arrange for payment to print their designs, and then pick up the finished product a bike ride or short walk away.