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Print Farm

What is Print Farm?

A print farm or print cell is a facility of multiple 3D printers used for manufacturing. These spaces are arguably the purest form of direct digital manufacturing (DDM), as 3D printers are the best examples among production tools of going directly from a CAD design to a finished part.


In this post, we’ll run through some reasons why you might consider investing in two or more 3D printers for your organisation.


Curious about other types of spaces that can be used for DDM? 

  • Production: Print Farms, Microfactories, and Makerspaces, for a comprehensive look at three types of spaces that support DDM:
  • Print farms: cells of multiple 3D printers, focused mostly on 3D printing fabrication.
  • Microfactories: localized spaces with a small footprint that focus on providing a variety of fabrication services for a small number of customers.
  • Makerspaces: collaborative community spaces, often based on a class or membership model, offering various fabrication tools and training for anyone to use them.


Support a Larger Team Within Your Organization

When you have a large design or engineering team, it can be a challenge to coordinate printer usage and maintenance, especially when some teammates might be better at caring for printers than others. Adding a print farm unifies responsibility for printer maintenance into a single department and means engineers and designers can work on separate prints in tandem.


Boost Production Capacity

Whether you’re producing prints for your own work or bridge production for clients, a collection of multiple 3D printers makes it easy to offer plastic production as a service at scale.

For example, Chris Vestal, head of MotoMinded, built an off-road motorcycle accessories company in three days with a set of 3D printers, going from prototype to production right at his desk without the hassle of making moulds. He was able to produce custom parts and maintain reasonable inventory.


With approximately 50 Form 2 3D printers, the Formlabs print farm produces an average of 650 parts per week in a variety of materials and employs approximately 7 people. You don’t need a dedicated operator for every printer, just someone handy, tech savvy, and understands the basics of CAD to diagnose problems with your 3D model.