How a Southern California Design Consultancy Delivers 3D Printing Through 3Diligent

Posted on Jul 28, 2017 by Cullen Hikene

3D Printing is impacting nearly every industry today, from automotive to medical to military, and in Santa Barbara, Calif., 3D Printing is helping one design consultancy bring sporting goods, outdoor adventure and consumer electronics product designs to life.

Click here for a PDF version of this case study.

A Turnkey Design Experience

STEL is a collaborative group of professionals that specializes in all areas of product development including strategy and analysis, concept generation, industrial design and engineering. Specializing in sporting goods design, outdoor adventure, medical devices and consumer electronics, STEL delivers solutions for a range of clientele including startups, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies across multiple industry categories.

Some of the projects STEL has designed include accessories for Apple iPhone and Android, eyewear, biking equipment and protective wear, as well as soft goods including backpacks and footwear.

What sets STEL apart from other design consultancies is that the company is truly turnkey in that it works with product developers from the stage of a “napkin sketch” to a finished product on the shelf. Part of that is delivering 3D Printed prototypes – roughly 80 percent of STEL customers require some form of 3D Printing. In fact, STEL emphasizes that its customers should prototype, rather than go straight to manufacturing, so that they can feel the proportions and ergonomics of a design.

Prior to partnering with 3Diligent, STEL had several 3D printers in house, but found that the task of prepping, running and servicing the printers was not the best use of the design consultancy’s resources, nor its expertise, so it turned to 3Diligent.

Working with 3Diligent

Through the 3Diligent service, STEL is able to submit 3D Printing, machining, molding and casting Requests for Quote (RFQs) and receive bids from 3Diligent, leveraging its qualified network of rapid manufacturing providers with prosumer, professional, and industrial-grade rapid manufacturing machinery.  STEL can then execute transactions through 3Diligent’s online platform, tracking the order through to delivery.

STEL uses 3Diligent to handle its customers’ 3D Printing and rapid manufacturing needs whether it’s for a final cosmetic model or a functional prototype. 3Diligent offers a gamut of materials and processes, including PolyJet, stereolithography (SLA), digital light processing (DLP), fused deposition modeling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), electron beam melting (EBM), binder jetting (BJ), CNC milling and turning, urethane casting, and injection molding.

A Successful Relationship

3Diligent has streamlined the 3D Printing prototyping process for STEL by consistently providing them quality parts, fast turnarounds, and market-driven competitive pricing that allowed STEL to focus on its product development expertise. Working with 3Diligent has allowed STEL to speed up the design process and prototype design changes.

“Big or small, simple or complex, prototypes are essential in validating designs before investing in high-volume manufacturing, but the cost and lead time of some of the other 3D printers we’ve worked with were not a fit for our customers,” said Ryan Olson, Co-Founder of STEL. “Not only does 3Diligent meet our customers’ budget and time needs, it has allowed us to focus on our job, which is designing the best products possible.”

3Diligent is an innovative rapid manufacturing services provider offering CAD/CAM-based fabrication services. 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. For more information, visit

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