A while ago I got contacted by Prototypehubs with the question if I would like to be part of the Beta test team for the new prototypehubs.com website. The nice thing is that they started around the same time I was changing from 3d printing as a hobby to a legit business with 3d printing service and web-shop next to my work as a journalist/blogger in 3d printing. I was looking into this topic for a while already so I was very excited to start working with the cool people from Prototypehubs. I was already part of the 3D Hubs system but they decided to stop working with hobbyists in general and are only working with professional 3d printing services so I had to quit providing my services there. Many people (including me) thought that it was a shame that 3D Hubs stopped working with hobbyists and the fact that we did not have a proper option anymore to provide our service. Luckily the people behind Prototypehubs came and started a brand new hub where everyone is welcome, even hobbyists with a small print- or CNC farm.
Prototype Hubs Beta test
During the beta test period, we had to test all features on the new website from the registration process to general use. I have to say that these guys build a brilliant website and everything worked great from the start. Sure, there were some issues but nothing special. We just had to point out the things that were not working like they are supposed to or when we found links or knobs that didn’t work properly. The only thing I’ve experienced problems with was that I could not find A REAL PROBLEM. All the issues they had were gone before the launch of the Prototype Hubs website which is awesome. It is always great fun to be part of a testers team and being able to help out by providing feedback to companies like this.
What is PrototypeHubs
Prototype Hubs is a new and global manufacturing hub for 3d printing and CNC- carving. In other words a marketplace for manufacturing partners providing their service to a worldwide audience. This can be anything from 3d printing, laser engraving, CNC carving and much more. Whether you need rapid prototyping, 3d printed figurines or a nice wooden CNC- carved nameplate for on your front door, there will always be a partner available to help you out. You can get instant pricing and select one of their trusted partners for your job. The process is super easy. And the best part of it all: anyone can apply, from 3d printing professionals to makers/hobbyists with one or two smaller 3d printers which are great in my book! So even if you own a three in one machine like the Snapmaker Original or something similar with 3d printer, laser engraver and CNC carver you can become part of this great new community of manufacturers. Also, Prototype Hubs is the ONLY web-based platform that lets manufacturers list their services and communicate directly with Clients.
The registration process for manufacturers
The registration process is easy for both clients and manufacturers. When you’re a manufacturer you need to press Log In in the top right corner of the site or go to the bottom of any page on prototypehubs.com and press “become a manufacturing partner“. This will bring you to a new web page where the “Sign up now” button is located. You need to fill out some forms including your address, what kind of machines you use for your jobs and you can use both PayPal or Stripe to receive payments for your work. Prototype Hubs guarantees your transactions and makes sure they are secure and your uploaded designs remain protected. After completion of the registration process, you need to send one or a few photos of a Prototype Hubs test model for verification. The model needs to be manufactured on the machine you will be using for your PrototypeHubs jobs.
Creating a new client account is a piece of cake too. You can push the Get Started button in the top right corner of the screen and this will bring you to a page where you can choose for 3d printing– or CNC carving project.
Ok, so you now have access to your PH dashboard after logging in. Here you can find the manufacturer’s knowledge base, customer support and you can submit feedback if you like. But the most important is your profile. This is where you can add, change or delete your machines. You can edit your public profile here and add some pictures of your work. AND…… This is where you can find your orders! So make sure your profile looks good and check if all your information is displayed correctly so potential costumers feel at home when they find you. The layout of the dashboard is great. It shows your order information and order requests. You can see how many new messages there are and the total revenue in one blink of an eye. Clients will upload the desired file and the file gets checked for faults. Ones the file is checked you can press “configure order” and from the online slicer type screen the client can choose the material, color, infill, and layer height and if needed another technology like SLA instead of FDM and after that process is completed they can find the nearest manufacturer and send the file so they can find the order request on their dashboard.
The complete process is very easy for both manufacturer and client and all features I tried are working great. I am sure Prototype Hubs is going to bring many people together. I am very happy to be manufacturer on their site already and I can’t wait to get my first orders in. It’s great that Prototype Hubs is here for anyone who loves to make stuff and not only the pros. An Original Prusa i3 or an Anycubic Photon can do a great job, you just have to know your material like with any other type of work. Huge respect for the team behind Prototype Hubs for all the hard work they did put into their concept. I will keep you updated on everything they do in the future and I hope to print something for you sometime. I know most of you will use their own equipment but you’ll never know.