Improving 3D Printer’s usage rate through a Sharing Platform

July 26, 2021

The manufacturing quality of 3D print parts heavily depends on advanced 3D printers. Though there are demands for 3D prototypes, not many organizations can own this kind of equipment because of its expensiveness. Yet, for such a huge investment, the usage rate of 3D printers is reported to be very low. To bridge the gap between demand and supply, a South Korean start-up has come up with an idea about a match-making platform for both parties. And GEM is the one to realize such an amazing concept.

gemvietnam

Overview

The client is a start-up aiming to connect 3D printing factories with those who want to have the demands but do not have the required facilities. The customers can send their blueprint to the factory of their choice and have their model printed and delivered by post. With such a sharing platform, the customers can save a huge investment on 3D printers, and at the same time, the printing factories can put the machines’ idle time into good use. The platform is expected to allow external vendors to share the API and build their own apps.

Challenge

The platform was required to be cloud-based, secure, and accessible via desktop, tablet, and mobile. As for the criteria regarding seamless integration, the system had to be easily configured and support dynamic data so that both the platform owner and external parties can add new features without affecting the whole system. It also had to have High Availability, with 99.99% uptime to cater to thousands of concurrent users at a time.  Besides, each 3D printer was to be attached with an embedded device to collect and execute customer’s orders. With that said, the client wanted to employ Arduino-based microcontrollers to serve as the printer’s server and streaming server. The devices would make up a system of IoT and could manage and analyze real-time and unstructured data.

Solution

To address the platform’s adaptability to business change requirements, GEM had applied the Microservices architecture with API Gateway to build the platform to ensure independent scaling. ReactJS was employed to develop a responsive web application. The team also integrated the IoT devices into the platform and enabled data log monitoring and management. Throughout the product development, the team maintained frequent communication with the client, making sure that all the requirements were well understood and handled.

Impact

After 10 sprints, GEM team successfully built and launched the sharing platform. The outcome lived up to expectations: though the targeted market was niche, the initiative was appreciated and used by both printing service providers and the customers. All in all, this project had provided an effective sharing platform for 3D print processes.