A while ago I was contacted by Prototype Hubs to be a part of the beta test team for the new Prototype Hubs 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 services, web-shop and as a journalist/blogger in the 3D printing industry. I was already looking into this topic for a while, so I was very excited to start working with the cool people from Prototype Hubs. I was ones a 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 ultimately I had to quit providing my services through them. Many people (including me) thought that it was a shame that 3D Hubs stopped working with hobbyists and that we did not have a proper option anymore to provide our services on one central site. Luckily the people behind Prototype Hubs came in and started a brand new platform where everyone is welcome, even hobbyists with a small print farm- or CNC cutting shop.
Prototype Hubs Beta test
During the beta test period, users got to test all features on the new website from the registration process to test orders. I have to say that these guys have built a brilliant website and everything worked great from the start. Sure, there were some issues but nothing out of the ordanary. We just had to point out the things that were not working like they were supposed to or when we found links or buttons 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 test team to be able to help out by providing feedback for new companies like this.
What is PrototypeHubs
Prototype Hubs is a new global manufacturing hub for 3D printing and CNC cutting. In other words, a marketplace for manufacturing partners providing their services to a worldwide audience. This can be anything from 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC carving and much more. Whether you need rapid prototyping, 3D printed figurines or a nice wooden CNC cut nameplate for your front door, there will always be a partner available to help you out. You can get instant pricing and select one of the trusted partners for your job. The process is super easy and the best part of it all is that anyone can apply, from 3D printing professionals to makers/hobbyists with one or two smaller 3D printers which is 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 cutter, 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. If you’re a manufacturer you’ll 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’ll need to fill out some forms including your address, what kind of machines you use for your jobs and you can use Stripe to receive payments for your work. Prototype Hubs guarantees your transactions are secure and your uploaded designs remain protected. After completion of the registration process, you’ll need to 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 Prototype Hubs 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, which will bring you to a page where you can choose to start a new 3D printing– or CNC cutting project.
Using The Prototype Hubs Site
Ok, so you now have access to your manufacturing partner account dashboard after logging in. Here you can find the manufacturer’s knowledge base, support links, and you can submit feedback if you like. But the most important thing is your profile setup. This is where you can add, change, or delete your machines, materials, and post-processing. You can edit your public profile here as well and add some pictures of your work. AND…… This is also 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 and it shows your order information and requests. You can see how many new messages there are and the total account revenue in the blink of an eye.
From a client’s perspective, the site is very easy to use as well. Clients will upload their desired files and the files will get checked for faults. Once the files are checked, you can press “configure order” and from the online file viewer screen the client can choose the material, color, infill, and layer height, as well as another technology like SLA instead of FDM. After that process is completed, they can find the nearest manufacturer and send the order so they can find the order request on their client dashboard.
The complete process is very easy for both manufacturers and clients, with all the features I tried working great. I am sure that Prototype Hubs is going to bring many people together. I am very happy to be manufacturer on the site already and I can’t wait to get my first order. It’s great that Prototype Hubs is here for anyone who loves to make stuff and not only for the pros. An Original Prusa i3 or an Anycubic Photon can do a great job at a hobbyist level, you just have to know your machine and materials like with any other type of work. Huge respect for the team behind Prototype Hubs for all the hard work they have put into the concept. I will keep you updated on everything they do in the future and I hope to print something for you sometime.