3D printing is not only transforming the world of manufacturing and multitudinous other industries, but it’s an industry within itself that is becoming a thriving marketplace. With the eruption of such an effective, valid — and frankly, mindblowing — new technology, there are of course myriad new products and players to consider.
There is also a mindblowing amount of competition that, like the innovations of 3D printing, seems to multiply and spring forth overnight. And for customers, that’s a good thing. Just because 3D printing is popular and ‘everyone is doing it’ – or so it seems – does not mean that it’s become completely affordable, for the smaller or the bigger leagues.
While the challenges of introducing new concepts and embracing change can be overcome, finances are most usually the one thing holding companies and individuals from diving into the world of 3D printing.
As it is often not possible for an individual or a company to buy even one 3D printer for their needs, 3D printing service providers have begun attempting to fill that niche. Budget is still most likely a priority though, and while 3D printing is becoming more organized and competitive — how to begin the search for the best prices? How to harness this competitive spirit for your own and very specific 3D printing projects and requirements?
3Diligent has been busy working behind the scenes to answer those questions, and propel forward. They are aware that capital can be an issue not only for entering the world of 3D printing but also for staying in it and reaching project goals. They know that cash is king and that’s why they’ve worked on raising close to $1 million — in only several weeks of meeting with investors. Having formed a beginning foundation of capital, they are launching their service as a ‘conduit’ to see that you are able not only to break into using 3D printing in your business but also able to get the most bank for your buck without having to wade through unpredictable and wildly varying pricing structures.
3Diligent allows anyone requiring professional or production grade 3D printing to put out the word as to what they need, and receive a quote, anonymously at first. Catering both to those who need and who have the best technology and quality 3D printing services, 3Diligent brings together customers and 3D printing providers with:
- User-optimized web interface
- Real-time competition
- Double-blind bidding
Customers simply upload CAD files and explain the project parameters and goals, making themselves open for bids and eventually beginning and completing the transaction through 3Diligent. With the double-blind bidding, it harkens a bit back to the discount hotel room purchasing concept. You have the potential to get a great deal from a company who doesn’t have to put their name out there on the original bid and subsequently does not have to offer those prices to existing or future customers. This gives providers the opportunity to print jobs using ‘excess capacity’ and allows the elimination of waste — while bringing in income that would not have been there previously.
For customers with multiple projects going, they can access multiple bids and examine turnaround times, rather than putting all their eggs in one basket.
“This format, seamlessly accessing the workflow of many vendors, and ‘jumping the line’ to be printed alongside jobs of the same material also stands to improve turnaround times,” Cullen Hilkene, CEO of 3Diligent, told 3DPrint.com. “Customers can access the workflow of multiple vendors rather than be sent to the back of any single vendor’s production queue.”
With the double-blind bidding, neither customer nor 3D printing servicer know each other’s identities until the bid is accepted and the project is a ‘go.’ Before agreement on both sides, customers are given the following information:
- Vendor’s certifications
- Previous ratings and reviews
- Bid details
The vendor is able to see the customer’s uploaded CAD file, is aware of project scope, and has their zip code. Only when both parties have agreed to a partnership in the project are their names given out to each other.
“This format allows vendors to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency with their machines and customers to get highly competitive – sometimes below market – pricing on 3D Printing jobs,” Hilkene told 3DPrint.com. “Because the vendor’s identity is only revealed to a customer after the deal is agreed upon, they are able to provide below market bids for jobs coming across our platform without fear that they’ll be held to that price with every customer.
“It’s a win-win for customer and vendor, with better economics on both sides while maintaining the highest levels of quality and service.”
Tell us your thoughts on this new level of progress and added competitive edge in the 3D printing industry in the 3Diligent Double-Blind Bidding forum over at 3DPB.com.