In this week’s post we will go over the steps to submit an RFQ for 3D printing and Rapid Manufacturing using the 3Diligent platform. An RFQ is a Request For Quote and serves as a blueprint of your project for our Vendors. This is what you will utilize on the platform and what Vendors will reference to create their bid. You can watch our walkthrough in the video below and read the rest of this post for a step-by-step breakdown of the process.
Log In / Sign Up
The first step is to log in to the secure 3Diligent portal or sign up if you don’t have an account yet. You will be directed to your dashboard where you can see the production overview and lifecycle of your projects at the top, tutorial videos at the bottom, and access to different tools like the knowledge center, order history, orders and RFQs in process. When you click the “Create RFQ” button, you will be taken inside the tool to the project basics.
Once inside the “Create RFQ” tool you first need to enter the name and description of your project. This is very useful within the 3Diligent interface to get your project matched to the right set of Vendors. It’s also useful for our Vendors to know how this part fits in to a broader project, so they can offer up any expertise they may have straight away. Next is the confidentiality provision, if you want to opt into it. 3Diligent Vendors are always expected to exercise discretion with customer RFQs, but the provision provides additional protection.
Next, you will need to upload the files for your different parts. You are able to upload different types of CAD (computer-aided design) files, among them .stl, .igs, and .stp formats. You then need to specify which unit of measurement the files were designed in. This is particularly important for our Vendors to 3D print or manufacture the parts in the correct size. Then, there is a box to choose whether there is one single part to the RFQ (one file) or multiple distinct parts (more than one file); this makes it easier for our Vendors to know what they’re working with.
The next step is to choose the quantity that you need for the parts you have uploaded and set up the delivery date. Setting the delivery date allows you to choose when you want your parts in hand, not necessarily when the parts are going to be produced. Keep in mind that we have Vendors all over the U.S. who will be bidding for your job, so the delivery date allows them to plan for your project. Next, you choose your material and the process you want our Vendors to use. One feature we have on our site is the option to “let vendor choose” for material and process. With rapid manufacturing, a lot of times it’s hard to tell exactly which material/process is needed. Our Vendors can provide you with an opinion as to whether 3D printing, CNC machining, or Injection Molding would be best. The beauty of 3Diligent is that you can get quotes using different processes and you can choose one that is best suited to your needs.
Now we get into more specifics for the project. First, specify what type of surface finish you would like, be it smooth (which may need further processing) or rough. The next step is submitting the specifications and tolerances, which you can do by highlighting them in the box provided or alternatively by uploading a PDF file with any drawings or pictures. Finally, there is a field for “Additional Requests” where you can post anything that might not be clear in the rest of the process. This could be anything from assurances that certain features will come out in the print, an insurance that they will provide an inspection report, or really anything that comes to mind that you might need from a Vendor – this is where you will request it.
Shipping and Payment
Next, we get into the details of logistics where you specify the shipping address. This information allows us to give the Vendor a zip code so they can provide a complete bid inclusive of sales tax and shipping costs. Then we provide you with access to our payment information. Bank Transfer, PayPal, Credit Card, and Retainer are all options. Certain payment options, such as Credit Card and Retainer, allow you to move quickly on any bid you might receive.
Submit RFQ for 3D Printing
Lastly we are taken to the summary page where you can review all the details of your RFQ submission. If you are not ready to submit yet, you can save it or alternatively you can submit that RFQ. After that, all that is left to do is say “Congrats” – you have submitted an RFQ! Be on the look out for bids soon after submitting your RFQ along with messages from our Vendors regarding any questions they may have. As you can see, the RFQ submission process can be quite easy by following a few simple steps. If you have any questions or comments, please drop us a note in the comment section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.