It only started a little more than a month ago but the Life Support network for P2P 3D printing technical support , launched by eco-friendly filament supplier 3D Print Life, is growing fast. It has now topped 62 registered “techies” (those who offer to provide the technical assistance) in over 16 different countries.
Read about how the Life Support Network works in our previous post.
“We just added a job posting board so that users don’t have to search a tech for a specific job but can simply post a job on a board and if a tech member indicated that skill as part of his or her expertise they will be notified.” Buzz Baldwin, co-founder and owner at 3D Printlife
Jobs that people can offer include 3D modeling as well as 3D printing hardware support such as installation and calibration, or even middleware support like slicing and CAD optimization. When you post a job you can select any of these. Users include many different types of companies and single persons: from MIT Labs and the largest FabLab in Illinois to smaller 3D print shops and even individual enthusiasts.
Now one of the top three global desktop 3D printer manufacturers is partnering directly with Life Support and its crew of techies by offering at least ten free beta testing version of a new system which is expected to be launched this year. “The idea is to find any glitch in their next generation machine and get techies to familiarize with the new system, spreading information about it,” says Baldwin. “Soon we are going to be offering this possibility for beta testing to a number of other manufacturers.”
The bottom line is that at least 10 techies in the Life Support network are going to be getting a free next generation 3D printer and this is just the very beginning for 3D Printlife. For the manufacturers it is a convenient deal as well. Any software bugs that can be worked out before launch will be fixed while more complex hardware optimizations may be rolled out with the successive hardware upgrades of the new system.
“When we came up with the idea for Life Support we though that it would be directed primarily at college students and makers, we were not really expecting large organizations and makerspaces to join up.” Buzz Baldwin.
3D Print Life is expecting even more than 10 machines from the yet undisclosed company (we do know it’s ono of the top 3 3D printer manufacturers in the world, thous so that shrinks it down to Ultimaker, Zortrax or MakerBot and XYZprinting). The company will review the requests to become a beta tester and contact the techi individually, which is exactly what the network is intended for: establishing direct relationships between technology suppliers (businesses) and consumers (B2C) as well as between consumer users and other consumer users (C2C).