More and more startups, both domestic and global ones, are endeavoring to make affordable 3D printers for tech-savvy consumers, as 3D printing technology is moving from an expensive industrial process to a more consumer-based technology after years of rapid growth. is an interactive directory for 3D printing products, projects and locations, navigating techies throughout a marketplace filled with 3D printing organizations and technologies. THRE3D enables users to both compare and review listings. Each product has its own custom forum for owners to collaborate and communicate on issues and improvements. The platform also planned to add video courses on 3D printing and to establish a call center.

The company was founded in the U.S. Feb last year by Roberto Contreras and Myles Lambert, two American youth who just got their degrees in Economics.

The startup is focused on the U.S. and European markets, because there are more DIY enthusiasts who keep an eye out for 3D printing products, said Roberto, adding that 3D printing technologies are still mainly applied for professional use in China, rather than for hobbies.

Although China is not an ideal target market for 3D printing technologies, it has abundant 3D printer manufacturers which can present streamlined products that boasts similar or the same qualities with their foreign counterparts.

In seek of more Chinese partners, THRE3D is now split between Beijing and across the U.S. All the full-time staff are in Beijing, while part time staff are based out of Houston, New York City and Boston. It has teamed up with several Chinese manufacturers, acting as the exclusive agency for their overseas promotion and branding campaigns.

According to data from research institute TMR, the global market size of 3D printing industry is $2.2 billion in 2012 and this figure is expected to reach $7.24 billion by 2019.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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