Bulk 3D printing

A successful business is based largely on good decisions made behind the scenes. This is often much easier said than done, however, and especially in a competitive industry where it can become challenging to see beyond the hype. If your company is growing, you know you are headed in the right direction. If supply and demand are becoming difficult to handle though, it’s time to take the next step in finding a partner you can work with over the long term for manufacturing.

Consider the following as you look for a partner to manufacture your 3D printed prototypes and parts.

1. Ability to meet formidable production demands today—and tomorrow.

Does the manufacturer have a robust platform to serve your needs? Whether you are printing parts as an independent designer or as a business owner relying on bulk printing for your own customers, make sure the manufacturer you work with has the production capacity to fulfill your orders as you need them. Consider a working relationship for the future too. Can you grow together?

“I needed the parts ready ahead of the originally given date and Shapeways delivered on this. Quality of parts was as usual outstanding.”

2. Understanding of your business model and strategy

Seek a manufacturer that understands your innovative ambition and the type of business you are operating, as well as your strategy for the future with 3D printing or other types of manufacturing. Shapeways offers uniquely tailored manufacturing and fulfilment services, along with e-commerce opportunities and on-demand 3D printing integrated with Shopify and Etsy.

3. The potential for accuracy and repeatability in production

Accuracy in production means quality for your own customers, and repeatability means a lot less headaches, knowing you can rely on the manufacturer for consistency every time, no matter how many prototypes or parts they 3D print.

4. Expertise through experience

Don’t count a manufacturer out just because they are the new kid on the block; however, there is enormous advantage to working with a company full of people who have extensive knowledge in 3D printing and are able to talk brass tacks with customers when it comes to technical questions.

5. Strength and excellence in technology and material offerings

Here lies the key to accuracy and repeatability, as well as the opportunity for a successful working relationship. You are seeking a manufacturer with the resources to take over production of your designs, and it is critical that they can follow through with their promises. If you require considerable production capacity, make sure the manufacturer can keep up—and then some! Shapeways, as an example, offers over 10 technologies for manufacturing, and more than 90 different materials and finishes.

6. Versatility in production

Industrial applications present vast potential for 3D printed prototypes and components. While the manufacturer you seek to work with should be masterful at the production of parts, it is in your favor if they can pivot to other projects in the future; for example, currently your business may be making mechanical parts, but what if you decide to design lighting systems, architectural fixtures, antenna or drone components, or something more whimsical like jewelry? To be able to work with one partner who can handle all your manufacturing needs isn’t just advantageous—it promotes further innovation and advancement.

7. The reality for on-demand 3D printing of spare parts

This is a tremendous benefit for you, and one that will just keep on giving. First and foremost, if all of the above considerations are falling into line, you will have satisfied customers. Beyond that, the savings to your bottom line is exponential on several levels. You can slash inventory and limit or completely eliminate warehouse space as parts are maintained on digital files rather than sitting around gathering dust. With industrial 3D printing occurring at the manufacturer’s end, you can cut back on equipment, materials, headaches scheduling deliveries, and a handful of middlemen along the way.

8. Industry presence

An experienced 3D printing service company will have worked on thousands or even millions of projects over the years, and is able to monitor the pulse of the industry continually regarding new technology, materials, and important trends that are relevant to manufacturing. Shapeways is a shining example with over 20 million parts printed, and one million customers served!

9. Technical support

This type of assistance is a lifesaver when problems or questions arise. At Shapeways, 3D printing engineers are available to discuss issues centered around technology, materials, and applications, as well as extremely common questions related to printability.

10. Customer service

For most consumers, this is a priority in working with any company. The impact of good (or bad) customer service simply cannot be underestimated. While ordering 3D prints or embarking on a project, you should also be able to speak with a representative one-on-one to discuss material and technology options and understand how the manufacturer’s services can align with your needs.

“As a business owner, I order a lot on Shapeways. They deliver quality prints, and they guarantee it. If something goes wrong, they’ll go miles to set things straight. Superb customer service, which makes me come back every time. Thank you Shapeways for manufacturing our designs!”

Many designers who have been working with Shapeways for years or 3D printing on their own may be expanding into new roles with design firms, starting their own businesses, or working on various independent projects that require advanced technology and materials. Shapeways strives to cover each point on this list for existing and potential customers, along with offering excellent customer service and access to a User Application team that will connect customers with 3D printing engineers to discuss projects.

Shapeways’ digital manufacturing services have empowered more than one million customers worldwide to produce more than 20 million parts. Read about case studies, find out more about our solutions, and get instant quotes here.