Learn how to get things 3D printed

What do I want to achieve?
I would like to know the basics for getting things 3Dprinted by a 3rd party.
Mainly types of printing tech, types of available filaments, sources for 3d model files, sources for companies or individuals that can print the file.
An extra would be sources for people who can edit the 3d model files.

Why do I want to achieve this?
I came to look at 3d printing when I needed some solution to hold the eight hard drives of my AI training station. The industrial ones were too big and expensive while all I needed were some plastic brackets.
At the same time, I wanted a case for my Pinephone development linux mobile phone, which doesn’t sell in the shops.
I also need a sturdy solution to hold cameras and phones in my car, something modular but that will fit the devices I plan to use.
Hence, I want to have things designed and printed, but I do not want to spend the time and money on getting a printer myself at this stage. From what I’ve read getting proper quality prints is an art, so we’re looking for people who already possesses the correct hardware and experience.
All I need to know if what I can ask from them, which this basic primer should cover.

How am I going to achieve this?
I took on the brackets for the hard disks and the cover for the pinephone as first projects.

I will find what files I need to use
search for a correct file
find the ways it can be printed
and have them printed by a 3rd party.

Budget costs

Useful links:

General info
hubs.com (until recently 3dhubs.com) is a printing company, they have all the basic information you need to know about printing tech:
3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing - A Complete Overview

STL files marketplaces


3D printing - Professional companies

3D printing - private printers
See attached excel file.Reddit-3dprinters-07-21.xlsx (7.0 KB)
Each of them can be contact via Reddit DM and is delivering to NL

Choosing the right printing method and the right filament is important, but there are many printing technology and lots of filament types.
So I made this simple flow chart to be able to easily choose the right printer and “ink” filaments:

Here it’s in PDF
Printing-tech-Fillaments.pdf (106.6 KB)

This list is by far not complete, and new filaments are added regularly, so to keep this file updated here is the original draw.io
Printing-tech-Fillaments-07-22.drawio (4.0 KB)

For my first 3d Printing attempt, I chose two STL files for brackets to stack hard disks, and a case for my pine phone.
I found the STLs in one of the links mentioned above.

Chose FDM and PETG and ABS for the brackets, chose to print the case twice, once in FDM flexible TPU and SLA flexible resin to compare.

I contacted a printer from Germany in Reddit (from the list above) which has both FDM and SLA printers.
Cost to print and send 50 eur.
Results were very satisfactory, pictures following.