In our blog we usually publish stories about top designers of 3D printing models who share and sell their art at Threeding.com. But today we would like to tell you the story of a guy who is not in the business of 3D modeling but who is as passionate with 3D printing as we are. His name is Martin. I met (online) Martin a week ago and I immediately liked the guy. He and his best friend Pierre-Antoine have developed a fantastic platform for 3D printing called Aniwaa. Their website is probably the most comprehensive database in the industry, so I decided to invite Martin for an interview.
Tony, Threeding.com: Hi Martin. Can you tell me more about you and Aniwaa?
Martin, Aniwaa: Hi Tony, thanks for having me. My best friend Pierre-Antoine and I started Aniwaa as a side project in 2013, we were both passionate with 3D printing and wanted to create a website with everything you need to know about this technology. We're both French, at the time I lived in New York and Pierre-Antoine in Paris, I now live in Cambodia and he lives in Tokyo. We're a fully remote operation!
Our goal with Aniwaa is to be the most trusted source for 3D printing knowledge. We're the IMDb of 3D printing: we offer the most comprehensive database of products (3D printers, 3D scanners and 3D filaments). We strive to make all this product information relevant and actionable for our users, be they beginners or advanced users. We structure data about thousands of products and make it easily searchable with our unique comparison tools.
It's a never ending task, as new 3D printers are launched every week, but we love it and do our best to always stay up to date. We currently have almost 1,000 3D printers in our database!
Tony, Threeding.com: What is your business model?
Martin, Aniwaa: We recently introduced our native advertising solutions, designed to help 3D printers and 3D scanners brands catch new customers while they're comparing their options on Aniwaa. We hate banners and use ad blockers so we developed these native ads, for example if you're using our 3D printers comparison engine you might see a sponsored product on top of the list. We think that by being 100% transparent on sponsored content and by displaying it in a smart way, the user experience can not only be preserved but enhanced.
We also do a little bit of affiliate marketing, again in a sensible way. For instance, if a product is available on Amazon, you might see a purchase link from the product page. We stick to our core principle: to always add value to both our users and our advertisers.
Tony, Threeding.com: Who are you visitors? 3D printing beginners or advanced users?
Martin, Aniwaa: So that's really interesting because we actually have very different profiles on Aniwaa, from entry-level users to advanced makers and also a lot of professionals and companies seeking to purchase 3D printing or 3D scanning equipment. That diversity comes from the fact that we cover the entire spectrum of products, from basic kit 3D printers to industrial-grade machines. We often get inquiries from users who need help to identify the right products for them. And no matter their level and budget, we help them all!
Tony, Threeding.com: Which is your favorite 3D printer and 3D scanner.
Martin, Aniwaa: Very tricky question!! For an entry-level and affordable 3D printer, we really like the Discovery200 by Dagoma, a French startup. Their 300 euro 3D printer kit is a no-bullshit, reliable and overall performant machine. We also like the way the company operates, not one of those overpromising and underdelivering startups that plague the industry… As for 3D scanners, we recently tested the Einscan-Pro from Shining 3D, a Chinese manufacturer quickly becoming a major player on the global market. This handheld 3D scanner is pretty impressive: easy-to-use, versatile and powerful. And the full package is under $5,000.
Both machines offer a great value to the user and that’s what we’re usually looking for when testing and reviewing 3D printers, 3D scanners or 3D filaments. There are plenty of awesome 3D printers and scanners out there so I feel bad having to pick only two!! For instance the Zortrax M200 and the David SLS-3 scanners are definitely great products that we really like.
In any case, the price to performance ratio is paramount in an industry with thousands of products and no clear market leader.
Tony, Threeding.com: What do you think is the future of 3D printing?
Martin, Aniwaa: Print speed is going to be an important factor for a mainstream adoption, along with a wider variety of materials. But I think the real game changer will be Apple and Google will enter this space, maybe 5-10 years from now. I believe at some point these tech giants will come up with fast, easy to use and reliable machines that even my mom could use. These machines will be integrated in ecosystems where you will be able to buy printable files, or stream them to a 3D printer directly. Something similar to the introduction of the iPod and iTunes.
Tony, Threeding.com: Anything else you want to share with us?
Martin, Aniwaa: We often get questions from users regarding 3D files for 3D printing: how to create them, where to download them... We need to do a better job to help them on this topic on Aniwaa. We have a comparison engine for 3D printing sites and 3D software but it's far from perfect. It's still difficult to highlight specific features of quality sites such as Threeding. We already have a few ideas to fix this, but we're really interested in feedback from your readers. Feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
We’re also very proud to have two industry insiders joining Aniwaa as monthly columnists starting this month. We’re doing quite well on the database front and we felt the need to provide more in-depth analysis to put all this product information in perspective. We’re really excited to have these 2 experts, Davide Sher and Bartosz Bos, share their views on Aniwaa. Expect some cool long reads on hot topics of the 3D printing world!