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

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 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



3Diligent on Medical 3D Printing

One area where 3D Printing is really taking off is in the medical industry, with news about innovative 3D printing applications for medical devices, prosthetics, implants, and more – being announced seemingly all the time.

So this month I’m pleased to share that I was asked to provide a 3Diligent perspective on medical 3D Printing in an article for Medical Design Technology. In “Medical 3D Printing: The Current State of Viable Materials,” I offer some nuggets about the various materials used in medical 3D Printing, including aqueous solutions/bio inks, polymers, low-temperature polymers, high-temperature polymers, thermostat polymers and metals.

For the article, we reinforced our perspective with experts from some of the machine and material manufacturers on the cutting edge of medical printing, so special thanks to Peter Denmark from Envisiontec, Sam Houston and Laura Gilmour from EOS, and Roger Narayan from America Makes for their keen insights underpinning the article.

Here’s an excerpt:

…one industry in which additive manufacturing applications are especially prevalent and gaining acceptance is the medical field. Since 3D printing builds objects one voxel (3D pixel) at a time, it is uniquely suited to construct complex organic shapes that are implausible or impossible with traditional manufacturing techniques. These shapes can, for instance, contain intricate internal geometries and custom-tailored porosity to mimic different bone densities. Moreover, this complexity is available virtually free of charge. Recognizing the value proposition and economics are compelling for the medical community, are the currently available materials sufficient to meet market demands? Which materials are currently available? Which are still to come? This update on the state of the 3D printing materials market will show that there are more available now than is generally perceived, and more are rapidly on the way.

You can read the full article here and look for more news from 3Diligent on our customers’ use of 3D Printing for medical applications in the near future!

3Diligent CEO Pens Article for AME Target

I’m excited to share with you a new article I wrote on the state of 3D Printing in 2017 that was published by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) in its Target Online digital magazine.

In my article, “3D printing in 2017: moving past disillusionment and into production applications,” I explore how plastic and resin 3D Printing is getting faster, metal 3D printing is going mainstream and how software and services pull it all together.

AME’s Target is a resource for senior and experienced manufacturing professionals who are continuously reinventing products and services to meet tough competitive challenges. Readers learn about fundamentals/basics of manufacturing as well as leading-edge concepts. Topics include inspirational leadership, manufacturing as a desirable career, enterprise excellence and innovation.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

…as expectations have reset and the attention has returned to commercial and industrial applications, the industry is building momentum again.  Mega-corporations like GE and HP are making massive investments in 3D Printing.  3D Printing startups are fetching healthy valuations from the venture capital community.  Most importantly, manufacturing companies of all sizes are taking note of 3D Printing and building it into their strategic plans.  As we enter 2017, the market is defined by a few key trends…

From there, I dig into those three macro trends for the market.  I hope you’ll take a second to read the full article here

Market Analysis by 3Diligent Shows Metal Share of 3D Printing RFQs Doubled Year-Over-Year; Huge Pricing Disparities Persist in Evolving Market

3Diligent Presents State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Report Showing Industry Trends from 2015 to 2016 Based on Analysis of Process and Material Selection and Pricing

Los Angeles, Calif. – March 01, 20173Diligent announced today it has completed its first State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Report. The report is based on analysis of customer requests for quote (RFQs) and orders from 2015 to 2016, as well as bids submitted by its supply partners on those projects.

3Diligent developed the report to track 3D Printing industry trends. Because the company provides the widest available range of 3D Printing technologies and materials via a network of specialists, its customer and bid data serves as a good proxy for market evolution.  3Diligent used a random sample of 100 orders and 1000 bids across 70 suppliers between 2015 and 2016 for the report.

Metal Printing Requests Doubled

As part of the analysis, 3Diligent found that while plastics and resins still command the lion’s share of projects, metal printing has nearly doubled its share of 3D Printing RFQs. In 2015, nearly 76% of requests were for plastic or resin and only 14% for metal (the other 10% didn’t specify a material preference), but in 2016, plastic and resin represented 65% and metal grew to 27% of RFQs. Popular metal requests include stainless steel, titanium and aluminum.

“It’s clear that there’s real fire to go along with all the smoke of media attention surrounding the metal 3D Printing industry,” said Cullen Hilkene, CEO of 3Diligent. “Customers have caught word of production 3D Printing success stories like the GE fuel nozzle, and are excited to utilize the technology themselves.”

The 3Diligent report also found that ABS and its variants still dominate professional and industrial printing service demand. ABS plastic and resin ABS simulants represented roughly half of orders. Metals represented around a third of orders. Polymers with specialized properties – like biocompatibility or rubberlike properties – and nylon, another all-purpose material, rounded out the difference.

Huge Pricing Variability

3Diligent also analyzed pricing behavior, calculating the spread between its suppliers’ bids on each of the RFQs in the data set. The analysis found that variability between 3D Printing bids is very large, with an average high bid of 2.84 times the lowest bid.  For example, a typical low price of $1000 vs. a high price of $2,840.

The high bid was more than double the low bid 59 percent of the time, and more than 5 times the low bid 17% of the time.  Conversely, only 11% of RFQs had spreads of less than 20% between the low and high bid.

The disparity between low and high bids was especially prominent on projects where the requested material needs bordered between plastic and metal (high bid 4.16 times the low).  However, on RFQs seeking exclusively metal or plastic, average spreads remained large (2.6 times and 2.7 times, respectively).

“Since plastic printing has been around for a while, we figured the market would be pretty efficient.  But it turns out there’s big pricing variability across the board,” Hilkene said.  “Some variability is explained by material choice, but most is explained by machine and material availability, as well as supplier overhead costs at both the corporate and equipment level.  Project circumstances matter a lot.”

The report underscores the need for customers to qualify and manage many additive suppliers and develop expertise in weighing tradeoffs, or work with services that do.

“If companies are using whichever provider happens to be down the street or they found online,” Hilkene said, “the odds are good they aren’t getting the most from their budget.”

The full report will be published in March. For more information on 3Diligent, its capabilities, and the report, visit

About 3Diligent

3Diligent is an innovative rapid manufacturing services provider offering CAD/CAM-based fabrication services such as 3D Printing, CNC Machining, and Casting.  3Diligent launched in 2014 as a way to provide businesses deterred by the cost and obsolescence risk of 3D printer ownership a single source for faster, more convenient, and more affordable additive manufacturing services to businesses.  3Diligent uses data science to analyze customer Requests For Quote (RFQs) and identify the optimal suppliers in its network of qualified providers for every project.  3Diligent’s next generation approach to rapid manufacturing allows customers to simplify their procurement and service providers to get more out of their capital investments. 3Diligent counts companies from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises among its customers.  For more information, visit



Amber Rubin
Senior Account Executive
The David James Agency

3Diligent Featured on Built in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a large and growing home for young businesses, recognized as one of the top startup ecosystems in the world. Part of what gives LA its vibrancy is its position at the confluence of media, design, software, and hardware.

Serving as that crossroads helps explain why LA is home to 3Diligent and a number of other cutting edge 3D Printing startups. A number of these were highlighted in Built in LA’s article, “7 LA startups pioneering the 3D printing industry” last month.

Built In LA is an online community offering the number one job board for tech talent, creates and curates exclusive content on local startups, hosts monthly events and publishes data on the LA tech sector. Here’s what Built in LA had to say about us:

3Diligent is a 3D printing marketplace that acts as a sort of Lyft for companies in need of rapid manufacturing technologies. The El Segundo-based startup partners with companies to help them find the ideal 3D solution via a network of supply partners.

You can read the full article here and stay tuned for more coverage on 3Diligent.