Finding a reliable 3D printing service is vital to ensure a timely turnaround for your rapid prototyped parts. It’s also a good idea to source 3D printing close to where you live or work for fast and cost-effective delivery, and in some cases the opportunity to collect directly from the manufacturer.
There certainly aren’t maker hubs on every corner of London, but there are still some great options for each of the three key additive manufacturing techniques (FDM, SLA, SLS) on offer both north and south of the river, with six of the best services outlined below.
For those of you in and around London, whether you live here or are simply visiting and looking to get some printing done in between sightseeing, this is your one-stop shop for all the tried and trusted services, shops, and fab labs inside the M25!
Wait up – you’re just here to find a quick and simple solution to print your stuff? In that case, head on over to Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, where you’ll instantly find the best price and provider for your needs.
MakersCafe was the UK’s first 3D printing cafe, opening in Shoreditch in 2014. It continues to offer a creative space for makers to socialize and experience 3D printing by engaging with the public while simultaneously democratizing the maker movement.
For a fee of £1 per minute, you can rent time on one of the machines on offer or simply come in to watch the machines while enjoying the social setting of a coffee shop. MakersCafe have now shut their Shoreditch pop-up and are currently looking for new premises in London. In the meantime, they operate from their HQ in East Dulwich.
3D London 3D Printing (3DL3DP) offers competitively-priced 3D printing in Southwest London. They ship worldwide and offer both a low-cost service and the opportunity to print using specially-requested or -supplied materials.
The method for uploading a model is straightforward, and they offer existing designs in collaboration with Thingiverse and TinkerCAD, which can be purchased directly from their website. To date, they have had a 99.8% customer satisfaction rate across over 4,500 customers, boasting an average dispatch time of two days.
FabPub works along a similar vein as MakersCafe, where you can book out the use of one of their machines for DIY 3D printing. The more experienced hobbyist will enjoy a cost-saving method of manufacture over just sending out for 3D printed parts. Both FDM and SLA 3D printing are available across multiple machines, including an Ultimaker 3, RTA 500 Delta, WASP Delta Tower 4070, WASP 3MT and a Formlabs Form 2.
Note that you should bring your file in DXF format on a USB drive. Additionally, they have bookable designers to help you with your file if needed. Services are offered at a cost of £60+VAT per hour.
Located just south of the River Thames, ProdPoint is a self-titled 3D print farm, offering fast and flexible additive manufacturing solutions. They promise high-quality and cost-effective parts using tight quality control procedures and a factory of over 30 printers running 24/7.
The quote portal is simple and effective to use, with a drag-and-drop system in place for your STL (or other supported file type) and the option to request a batch production quote. ProdPoint also provides a resources page with a variety of blog posts on topics such as FDM printing in general, using threaded inserts in 3D printing, and preparing your files for 3D printing.
3DPrintUK has cornered the London market in SLS 3D printing and, like ProdPoint, are able to produce one-off prototypes and rapidly manufacture low volumes of batch parts. They offer a refundable test sample to allow you to validate the part before the batch run as well as a sample pack listing all of their services in a 20-page booklet alongside samples of the four different finishes available.
Uploading a part for a quote is easy with a drag-and-drop system and a pricing app! The Low Volume Production Calculator also allows you to directly compare 3D printing with Injection Molding, correctly validating whether 3D printing is the right alternative for your project.
Champion 3D provides a six-step process, taking you from uploading your files to receiving your parts. Instant quotes and live support are readily available. Another option is an in-person consultation to discuss your project-specific requirements at the Champion 3D HQ in South East London. This costs £20 per half hour.
Champion 3D additionally provides a 3D CAD modeling service, where existing models can be repaired, parts can be created from sketches or technical drawings, and different file types can be converted into a 3D printable format. There’s also an offer of 20% off on your first 3D printing order with them once you’ve subscribed.
Naturally, if you’re not interested in the social aspect of 3D printing or don’t need face-to-face interaction, you always have the option of using an online service, many of which operate internationally.
The question is, with so many options out there, which do you choose? Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, makes it easy for you. Using your designs and your location, we offer real-time prices, meaning you can instantly find the best price and provider for your needs.
License: The text of "3D Printing in London: Best Services, Shops, Fab Labs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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