A Digital Manufacturing Partner for Every Business

Yesterday, we made a big announcement.

After spending the better part of the last year qualifying and onboarding new fabrication centers, we are pleased to formally announce that we are now offering CNC Machining and Casting services alongside our 3D Printing service.  In doing so, we have become the “Digital Manufacturing Partner to Every Business.”

What does this mean to you, our customer?

That if you enjoyed the one-stop shopping convenience we previously offered you for additive manufacturing, you will love getting those same benefits from our comprehensive machining and casting services.  Instead of having to dial up dozens of companies in search of a solution that might call for any of those technologies, you can now submit a single RFQ and know that 99.9% of the time you’re going to get a great quote on the program that leverages the strength of 3Diligent’s thousands of fabrication options to ensure you’re getting the best solution to your fabrication need.

Beyond providing you the added convenience of one-stop shopping for your digital and rapid manufacturing needs, these expanded capabilities also enhance our ability to support your company’s needs from prototyping through to production.  At 3Diligent, we are very excited about the growing number of production 3D Printing programs we are supporting.  Advancements in 3D Printing speed, reliability and material science are making it a viable option for an increasing number of programs.  However, there are times when machining or casting are a better option for the application at hand, especially at higher volumes.

Now, for those of you who have been regular users of our service, you know that we have been quietly offering Machining and Casting for some time.  We’ve been refining these capabilities in semi-stealth mode.  Until we had all the pieces in place, we didn’t want to announce that we were ready for primetime.

But now we are.

Our service now offers several hundred CNC machines of all flavors, including milling, turning, EDM, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting.  Our casting service now services materials including an incredible range of urethanes, silicone, and metals.

And I’m pleased to report that the reviews have been outstanding.  From casting to machining, our customers have reported the highest levels of satisfaction with our world-class project management and the timeliness and workmanship of our fabrication centers.  You can read a few of them here in our press release.

If you have a program that might call for machining or casting, I strongly encourage you to submit an RFQ at www.3Diligent.com.  I think you’ll be impressed!

Taking a Closer Look at the HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500: A Breakthrough New Color 3D Printer

HP recently issued a press release about the long-awaited HP color 3D printer, the Jet Fusion 300 / 500. In this post, we take a closer look their announcement given our expertise working with every major 3D printing technology on the market to help you determine just how impactful this new product launch will be.

In the paragraphs below, we deconstruct some of the key passages of the press release to give you some perspective on what to expect…

Press Release: Palo Alto, CA, Feb. 5, 2018 — Today HP Inc. expanded its 3D printing portfolio with the introduction of its new Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series of 3D printers, the industry’s first 3D printing technology to enable manufacturers to produce engineering-grade, functional parts in full color, black or white – with voxel control – in a fraction of the time1 of other solutions. Depending on configuration and color preference, the Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series is available starting in the $50,000s, enabling small- to medium-sized product development teams and design businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities and research institutions to access HP’s industry leading Multi Jet Fusion printing technology.

Commentary: A lot in this passage.  The big takeaway, though, is engineering-grade, functional parts in full color.  To date, full color parts have been 3D Printed using paper, gypsum, or resin.  None of those materials are well equipped for functional applications.  Instead, parts are typically printed and then painted or dyed as part of a post-processing step.  So the story here is theoretically a faster way to durable multi-color parts.  Starting at $50K, it’s a fair bit more expensive than most of the gypsum and paper-based technologies, but that’s a bit less than competing multi-color resin technologies.

Press Release: HP’s unique ability to control part properties at the individual voxel level enables the design and production of previously unconceivable parts and is now available, for the first time, in full color. Whether in healthcare, automotive, consumer goods, or other industries; or for entrepreneurs, designers, or university researchers with the next great idea; the potential of new 3D printing applications is enormous. HP is already engaging in the co-development of new color applications with universities and businesses around the world including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Yazaki Corp., and Youngstown State University, amongst others.

Commentary: HP has put emphasis on voxel-level control for some time now.  For those who aren’t as familiar with the term, a voxel is a 3-Dimensional pixel.  So, much like you can use photoshop to alter the exact color composition of each pixel of a photograph, you can do that as well to a voxel with this technology.  This promises to provide the equivalent of micro-painting – achieving a level of accuracy that cannot be conventionally achieved by traditional painting methods.  Practically speaking, the applications for micro-color applications remain to be seen.  That being said, you can see the potential value in creating models or surgical guides that provide all the color required, but did not require a human touch and the risk of human error. At the very least, it would seem to help product designers accelerate the time to a functional product vs. the current process and post-process steps.

Press Release: The HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500 3D printers will launch with a new material, HP 3D High Reusability CB PA 12. Parts using this material will have mechanical properties similar to the HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 material from HP’s industrial solutions.

Commentary: Here we see that HP is emphasizing Nylon 12 (Polyamide) as its go-to material.  HP has a significant depth of experience working with Nylon with its initially launched Jet Fusion printers, so this is no surprise.

Press Release: HP today also unveiled a new collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, a leading provider of 3D design software with millions of users in more than 140 countries, to empower a new era of product design innovation by entrepreneurs, makers, students, and businesses. The two companies intend to optimize Dassault Systèmes’ industry-leading SOLIDWORKS 3D design and engineering applications to take advantage of the unique voxel-level capabilities of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions.

Commentary: Looks like we can expect some voxel-level coloring options in Solidworks in the not too distant future.  And lastly, from the footnotes…

Press Release: Based on internal and third-party testing for HP Jet Fusion 580 and 540 3D Printers, printing time is a fraction of the time of the printing times of comparable plastic fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), and material jetting solutions from $20,000 USD to $120,000 USD on market as of June, 2017. Testing variables for the HP Jet Fusion 580 3D Printer: Part quantity: 1 full build chamber of parts from HP Jet Fusion 3D at 10% of packing density versus same number of parts on above-mentioned competitive devices; Part size: 30 cm3; Layer thickness: .08 mm/0.003 inches. Competitor testing variables are comparable.

Commentary: This is interesting in the sense that the claim is based on these conditions.  Most notably: a full build chamber, 30cc part, and 80 micron layer thickness.  Both paper- and Gypsum-based systems tend to work in a bed fashion, so this is a reasonably fair comparison for them.  Material Jetting printers do not…and in fact if the intention of this platform is quick one-off designs than a complete bed is perhaps not a reasonable comparison.  Regardless, you’d think it to be quick, but don’t assume this is inherently the fastest solution for your particular needs.

We look forward to having the HP Jet Fusion 300 / 500 series of 3D printers in our network. Until then, take a look at the other 3D printing process available to you through 3Diligent.

3Diligent CEO to Speak at Pacific Design & Manufacturing Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Next week, I’ll give my first talk of 2018 just a short distance southeast to Anaheim, Calif. at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Conference.

The Design News event will take place February 6-8, 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Known as the nation’s largest advanced design and manufacturing showcase, the conference covers CAD/CAM software, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, new materials, injection molding and more.

On the first day of the conference, February 6, I will be speaking on “Metal 3D Printing Evolution: An Exploration of Trends & Emerging Tech.” As part of my presentation, I will provide an overview of the metal 3D Printing market.  Included in this will be a deep dive into the established metal 3D Printing processes, strengths, drawbacks, and applications for each technology available today, as well as some perspective on emerging metal technologies.  So for those of you wanting to learn about powder bed, metal extrusion, full sinter binder jetting and more, we’ve got you covered.

I’d like for you to attend this session on Tuesday, February 6 at 3:15 pm in 208B. If you will be attending the conference, but can’t attend the session, I’d still love to meet you. You can send an email here to set up a time.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the great innovations at Pacific Design & Manufacturing and learning from my industry peers.

What’s Coming in 3D Printing Technology in 2018

How is it that the first month of 2018 is already coming to a close?! I hope your New Year is off to a great start – things are certainly moving along quickly here at 3Diligent!

It promises to be another exciting year in the 3D Printing industry.  With new entrants, new materials, new processes, there will be no shortage of important developments to stay on top of.  Here are a few top trends I see grabbing attention in 2018:

Extrusion metal printing. After years of there being zero metal extrusion printers, there will be two in the new year from Desktop Metal and Markforged.  These promise accessibility to new materials and a degree of user friendliness not currently offered by existing technologies.  It will be interesting to see how they deliver.

Metal printing reaches new markets. The arrival of metal extrusion technology and increasing awareness of the possibilities created by full sinter metal binder jetting will command market attention.  Because these systems should be able to deliver a lower cost alternative for certain geometries, expect to see increasing adoption of metal printing technology in industries like Energy, Automotive, and Industrial Products that couldn’t pencil a fully justified value proposition for powder bed metal printing.

Expansion of additive manufacturing as a production technology.  As more stories have found their way into market about improvements in performance offered by new designs that can only be manufactured additively, companies have been quietly investing in the technology. Expect to hear more announcements from companies that they have received approvals from government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Aviation Administration.

You can get more detail on each of these trends in my posts at mfrtech.com and at Quality Digest. I also had the chance to speak with Brad Kuvin at 3D Metal Printing in greater detail about these trends, so stay tuned for more on that discussion in the coming weeks.

What do you think will happen in 2018? Let me know in the comments below.

Come See 3Diligent at Inside 3D Printing San Diego

This year has taken 3Diligent all over the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Pittsburgh and to finish up the end of the year, I’ll be traveling just a few hours south of the 3Diligent headquarters to speak at Inside 3D Printing San Diego.

Inside 3D Printing San Diego is a professional 3D printing and additive manufacturing event focused on the latest innovations in the space. The event will take place December 4-5 at the Convention Center.

I got to meet R2D2 at last year’s show. Excited to see if BB8 will be there this year!
I got to meet R2D2 at last year’s show. Excited to see if BB8 will be there this year!

On Tuesday, December 5th, I am scheduled to present “Metal 3D Printing – An Overview of What’s Here Now and What’s to Come.” In this presentation, I’ll provide an overview of the metal 3D Printing landscape along with the strengths, drawbacks, and applications for the metal 3D Printing technologies currently in market. Additionally, I will share my perspectives on emerging metal 3D Printing technologies, in particular desktop extrusion technologies like Desktop Metal’s Studio Printer and MarkForged’s Metal X, among others.

If you’re attending the show, please stop by my presentation and say hello. Or if you’d prefer, you can contact me to schedule a one-on-one meeting.

I look forward to presenting my thoughts on 3D Printing one last time for 2017 and hope to see some of you there! Stay tuned for more great news from 3Diligent in 2018!

This Week: 3Diligent Talks Metal 3D Printing at FABTECH in Chicago

It’s hard to believe that there are just under two months left in 2017! It’s been a busy year for 3Diligent and things aren’t slowing down as I head out this week to FABTECH in Chicago!

FABTECH is taking place November 6-9, at McCormick Place, where more than 1,700 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees come together to explore the latest industry products and developments related to metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing.

I’m excited to share that while at the show I’ll present “Making Sense of Metal 3D Printing” where I will compare the range of different metal printing technologies, offering my perspective on their pros, cons, and common applications. I’ll cover a range of technologies including laser melting, electron beam melting, binder jetting with metal infiltration, directed energy deposition, nanoparticle jetting, and metal plating of plastic or resin parts.

If you’re interested in attending, I’ll be speaking on Wednesday, November 8 at 10:30 am in room S402A. You can get more information on my speaking topic here. If you’re attending the conference, but not available to join my talk you can contact me here if you’d like to schedule a meeting.

Looking forward to seeing all of the innovation in metal at FABTECH and hope to see some of you at the show. If you won’t be attending, stay tuned for details on my quick drive south for my talk at Inside 3D Printing San Diego next month!

3Diligent Perspective on Metal 3D Printing Featured in Digital Engineering’s RapidReady

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak with editor Pamela Waterman of Digital Engineering about metal 3D Printing and this year’s announcements from both Markforged and Desktop Metal. Our conversation was summarized in a post at the Digital Engineering blog RapidReady entitled “Metal 3D Printing on the Desktop Heats Up.” Here’s an excerpt:

3Diligent, an online manufacturing service that provides rapidly manufactured parts to customers, has its eye on the implications of these systems. Through its web portal, the company offers 3D printing, CNC machining, casting, and molding services for all stages of product development. Cullen Hilkene, 3Diligent CEO and co-founder, has watched the metal AM world expand beyond aerospace and medical users to include automotive, industrial, and consumer applications, and sees significant potential for the new desktop-metal approaches.

“I think we will see opportunities for these new technologies,” says Hilkene, “especially in industries where certain (metal part) requirements like tolerances, porosity and surface finish aren’t as stringent.  I think you can draw parallels between the plastics market and the metals market. In plastics AM (additive manufacturing), you have powder bed and extrusion, and both have advantages.”

You can read the full article here and if you’re interested in learning more about metal 3D Printing, you can download our Complete Guide to Metal 3D Printing here.  If you’d like to get on our mailing list for when we start offering metal parts from these extrusion systems, click here.

Talking Additive Manufacturing for Mass Production with ENGINEERING.com

Last month’s RAPID + TCT 2017 Conference was an exciting event for 3Diligent as we got to speak with so many industry publications about what we’re doing here at 3Diligent and what trends we’re seeing in the industry.

I’m pleased to share that this week ENGINEERING.com posted an interview with me entitled “VIDEO: Is Additive Manufacturing Evolving for Mass Production?” Here’s an excerpt of the post and a preview of what we discuss in the video interview:

Large production runs have long been the holy grail in the additive manufacturing industry, so how can we move this technology from prototyping and one-off applications into something capable of mass production? In the video above we speak with Cullen Hilkene, CEO of 3Diligent, about how this change is coming about.

You can see the entire video here or if you don’t have time for the video, the editor has posted excerpts summarizing our discussion below the video.

We’re excited to share with you and the media about what we’re doing at 3Diligent – stay tuned for more exciting news soon!

Talking 3D Printing Trends with MCADCafé at RAPID + TCT 2017

Last month we attended the RAPID + TCT 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh. RAPID + TCT is North America’s preeminent event for discovery, innovation, and networking in 3D manufacturing and at our booth we displayed parts from a number of our rapid manufacturing technologies – including HP’s recently released Jet Fusion printer.

While at the show, we had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Rowe of MCADCafé, an online publication delivering the latest MCAD industry commentary, news, product reviews, articles, events and resources.

I spoke with Jeff about 3D Printing industry trends we’re seeing including an increase in metal and production applications and downward pressure on pricing, making additive manufacturing more accessible.

You can see the interview in its entirety here.

3Diligent Releases State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Report

Make Better 3D Printing Decisions: 3Diligent’s State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Special Report is now Available

Earlier this month we announced initial findings from our “State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Report,” and today we’re pleased to share that the full report is complete and available for download.

The report is compiled of data analyzed from a sampling of 1000 bids and 100 orders over the period of 2015-2016.  The report covers the 3D printing hype cycle, the emergence of metal printing, the state of polymer printing, pricing variability, along with critical analysis from 3Diligent’s CEO Cullen Hilkene detailing the implications of these findings.

Here’s an excerpt:

For the past several years, there has been a lot of talk about metal printing, but there have also been some persistent questions in the market as to whether there was real substance behind the news headlines.  After all, it’s been several years since we all heard the first exciting stories of lightweight aerospace parts and next-generation medical implants, but finding business people – let alone end consumers – who can say that metal 3D Printed parts meaningfully impact their day-to-day life is a challenge. 

The activity we have seen suggests that the interest and use for metal printing truly is growing rapidly.  While metal printing does not yet represent the lion’s share of 3Diligent projects, it is far and away the fastest growing material category.  This confirms that metal printing is not simply a curiosity, but is growing in interest and traction with customers. 

You may download the report by following this link…

3Diligent State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Special Report