Question about sending STL files to 3d printing services

I want to 3d print one of my sculpts. However, I do not own a 3d printer and will have to send my STL to a 3d printing service.

Is there a way to secure your STL so it won’t be stolen by anyone? I find it kind of unsettling sending an STL to strangers to print it for me.

I wish there was a way to code an STL so that it is it is only programmed to print a certain amount of prints before the file becomes useless. Maybe I am just paranoid. I don’t know much about 3d printing.

There’s not really a way to lock a stl file. Especially when sending it to be printed. Once you send it out into the world anyone who has it can do anything they want with it.

If you’ve been in the forums much, you’ll know that some of us 3D print. You could find someone here who you feel can be trusted to print it for you and not give your file away.

If you’re really worried about it then try to find a friend, relative, etc. who will let you slice and print it or will do it for you. Other than that, you could try to find a reputable company who will do it for you.

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Just a thought- the libraries around where I live will print things for free. Depending on where you live, your local library may do the same. I don’t know how they handle the files as I’ve never used them to print but you could reach out and check.

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Thanks Roger. I really hope they implement this security feature into slicer softwares in the future to protect artists. Limiting the amount of prints would be a great safety feature.

I would invest in my own 3d printer, unfortunately I have no space to ventilate the toxic fumes from the resins. Guess i’ll have to trust one of these companies with my files. Thanks again.

Can you at least post a picture to know what type of object you whant to print?
Are you planning to make money with it?
Like print it to then make a silicone mold and sell the copies?
If not, what would be the problem if other people print it?
You need to understand that there are so many stl models out there, that even the people that are addicted to download all of the ones they can find for free in different social platforms or even the ones they got in patreon subscriptions, they will never have the time or the room to print more than 5% of what they have.
So even if they end up with your file it will probably never get printed.
Now if you want to make money by selling one painted copy, like some type of exclusive art toy thing, then yes I understand your concern.

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Yes, it’s exactly that. I want to print one of a kind doll portraits and this market is ripe with resellers and recasters, unfortunately. I haven’t sold any of my works yet because I’ve never printed them out.

You bring up good points though. I guess the better option in this case is to buy my own printer, which I am seriously considering.

I’ve found that some of the big commercial 3d printers in my area have very low quality compared to people with cheaper 4k-8k desktop printers.