We saw an opportunity to make the 3Diligent user experience better for both our customers and suppliers. We recognized that some customers really wanted and needed more hands-on support than our previous structure permitted. At the same time, we were providing follow up to some customers that really didn’t need or maybe even want it – they just wanted to use some smart software to speed up and simplify their procurement. Introducing 3D Marketplace and 3D Direct allow us to serve those customer segments better. It also allows us to be a better partner to our suppliers, who invest significant time and effort in messaging customers and quoting projects.
3Diligent Direct is our hands-on service. On projects where you choose to release your RFQ to 3Diligent Select, we’ll contact you to discuss the project and understand how you’d like for us to work with our supply partners on the project. We’ll analyze your RFQ and identify the best supply partner in our network for that type of project at that specific moment. Ultimately working with just one of our suppliers in these types of projects allows for a greater level of hands-on support, from the moment you submit a project until after your parts are delivered on-time and to-spec.
3D Direct is best for projects where the specifics aren’t really “locked down” yet or require strict confidentiality protections. Basically, if you aren’t yet clear on the specific material or process requirements for your job, opt for 3D Direct and we’ll work through that with you. Also, if your project is highly sensitive, the 3D Direct RFQ forms allows you to opt into our extremely strict confidentiality provisions. Lastly, production runs generally fall into this category. While production runs are sometimes run through the Marketplace, with Direct jobs we write the terms of the contract, which generally eliminates ambiguity.
The consulting bundled into a 3D Direct service relates to identifying a partner, process, and material for your projects. If you have bigger questions to resolve – for instance, design for manufacturability and supply chain optimization for 3D Printing – those would be outside the scope of what we can cover with 3D Direct. If that is the case, please reach out and we can make consulting arrangements.
It is free to submit your job to 3D Direct. However, to cover the cost of additional support, prices for 3D Direct parts are typically a bit more than comparable 3D Marketplace parts. Customers who are simply seeking the lowest price for parts should utilize one of our Marketplace options.
3D Marketplace is a curated forum for customers to submit RFQs and our qualified supply partners to offer bids on those RFQs. When a customer submits their RFQ to the Marketplace, we release it to those suppliers that are the best fit for the project, with the intention of gathering bids from 3-5 of our suppliers for you to select from.
The best projects for 3D Marketplace are ones that are well defined and where IP isn’t a major concern. In other words, those projects where you know your material and process requirements well, so it’s just a matter of assessing price and timeline across a few bids. Potential projects for the marketplace might be replacement parts, tools, jigs, fixtures, and other projects where quick delivery and competitive price are the most relevant considerations.
We have two levels of marketplace subscription: Free and Premium.
Free level is granted to every 3Diligent customer when they set up their account. RFQs submitted to the Free level Marketplace are released to service providers utilizing prosumer grade technology. Think in terms of a higher end desktop printer like Lulzbot or FormOne. Prosumer printers generally cannot achieve the same levels of quality that you get from a professional or industrial grade machine. With that said, they are significantly cheaper than those heavier duty options, and sometimes are capable of meeting your requirements. If you’re a maker, this might be a great option for you.
In addition to accessing our suppliers with prosumer technology, Premium level opens things up to those with professional and industrial equipment. Because this higher end equipment can more reliably achieve tolerances and finish levels, we open up those fields in your RFQ and the vendor bid form. Additionally, you’ll also have the ability to request parts in engineering grade plastics and metals that aren’t plausible on prosumer machines.
If you’re looking for the highest quality printed parts, that is achievable both via 3D Direct and the Premium marketplace. Either provides you access to the same set of top notch equipment and materials. Please note, however, that in the Marketplace our suppliers are engaging with you directly, so it is your responsibility to ensure the terms of a supplier’s bid reflects all critical specifications. Customers who do not receive explicit commitments with respect to particular specifications, tolerances, or finishes should not expect them in finished parts.
With 3D Marketplace Premium, you’ll be able to access multiple bids, engage directly with our suppliers, and frankly move faster than we can support with 3D Direct. Additionally, since we have to bundle the cost of project management into 3D Direct bids, it may be more cost effective for you to get a Premium Marketplace subscription. Based on our data, most of our customers will cover the cost of an annual Premium membership if they run at least three projects through the platform in a year.
Yes, we’ll be happy to send through jobs to 3Diligent suppliers you’ve used previously. Just specify as much in your Notes to 3Diligent…it’s the last step of the CREATE RFQ process.
The Free Marketplace is…free. The Premium Marketplace is $99/month, although we’ll be offering some promotions in the early days…be sure you’re on our mailing list or drop us a line and we’ll let you know if there’s a promotion underway.
Once you have set up an account, log in. In the top right hand corner, you’ll see an Upgrade button under your name. Just click it and that will take you to the upgrade window. Please note, upgrades can take up to 24 hours to process.
When you click CREATE RFQ from the dashboard, it will ask you that question on the first page of the process.
Email us or call 1 855 302 3339 x1 and we’ll be happy to speak with you.