It seems offering a 3D printing service alone is no longer enough for most entrepreneurs. Everyone nowadays who is running a business based around 3D printing seems to be combining their 3D printing service with something (or someone) else.
The most common business model is to offer a comprehensive manufacturing or product development service to back the 3D printing up, such as what companies like Vipa Designs offer by combining 3D printing with in-house CAD design, casting, and goldsmithing.
Alternatively, iMakr has expanded into a 3D printing service to sit alongside it’s main focus of selling machines.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t still room in the marketplace for the casual 3D printer owner. One interesting move to accommodate these independents and capitalise on their equipment is a website called 3Dhubs. Through this website, independent 3D printer owners present themselves as part of a network of services anyone can access. This connects CAD designers with local owners of 3D printing equipment to make the most out of all local resources.
What does this mean for jewellery businesses? Considering most jewellers working outside of jewellery shops are microbusinesses anyway, options for expansion can be a tricky dilemma, but a necessary one to solve to ensure continued survival. Perhaps some of these above solutions could point to a way forward to ensure these companies continue to thrive.