Earlier this year, Dassault Systèmes launched a new platform called the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace. Billed as “the Amazon of Manufacturing,” the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace is split into two halves: Marketplace PartSupply, an online 3D components catalog, and Marketplace Make, a service to connect with manufacturers around the globe to make your parts via whatever process you prefer: 3D printing, CNC machining, injection molding, and more.
To demonstrate what Marketplace Make has to offer, we wanted to put it to the test. In this article, we’ll walkthrough the steps of getting your part made on the Marketplace.
Step One: The Part
We’ll assume you already have a part that you need manufactured—if not, Marketplace PartSupply has over 30 million parts to get you started. For our demonstration, we chose to make a simple 3D model of the engineering.com geodesic logo:
After some light modeling work in SOLIDWORKS, we’ve got our part:
Model in hand, the next step is to head over to Marketplace Make. You’ll have to login with your SOLIDWORKS account (or 3DEXPERIENCE Passport), and then simply hit the “Send Request” button underneath the search bar. From here, you upload the part you want made—you can browse Dropbox, Google Drive, 3DEXPERIENCE, or just upload a file from your hard drive. Accepted formats are STL, OBJ, STP, STEP, 3DXML, CATPART, and SLDPRT.
Step Two: Selecting a Service Provider
After uploading your file, it’s time to choose who you want to manufacture it. Hit “Select” in the top right, and Marketplace will automatically validate the geometry and report on any issues. You’ll also be presented with a miniature preview of your file so you can ensure you uploaded the right part:
From this page, you can also fill in details about the process, material, tolerance, color, quantity, delivery, and any other services you require. With each entry, the available manufacturers will automatically be filtered.
There’s a long list of processes to choose from:
A vast array of materials:
And several finishes and additional services you can opt for:
For the geodesic, we’ll select “Any” process, keep the default global tolerance of 0.2mm, choose aluminum for our material, and select a nice indigo color, with no finishes or additional services. With these parameters, Marketplace displays 39 options for manufacturers:
Some of the 39 manufacturers available to make the part with the specifications listed above.
Under each manufacturer is data about their capacity, tolerance, turn around time, and price. You can also sort the results by price, turnaround time, and tolerance, and refine them by capacity.
We wanted a quick turnaround for this part, so we selected the first option in the list, Proto Labs USA. After selecting a service provider, you’re given a summary of your choices for review. If everything’s good to go, you simply put in your shipping address, attach any other relevant files (like an NDA), and if you like, you can write a message to the provider. Then you send your request for a quote and hang tight. In the meantime, you can submit another request, grab a cup of coffee, or read more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace.
Step Three: Getting It Made
We received a very prompt reply—within 15 minutes—from Proto Labs’ David Giebenhain:
Thanks for submitting your request! I see you’re looking to get this part made using aluminum. We can produce aluminum parts using CNC machining or 3D printing, but due to the interior voids in this particular geometry, I believe 3D printing will likely be the best option. I’ve submitted your part to a 3D printing applications engineer who should get a price back to me shortly. If you have any questions or would like to discuss CNC machining vs 3D printing this part, just let me know.
We can’t speak for all the service providers on the Marketplace, but Proto Labs was responsive, friendly, and helpful, offering us advice on different manufacturing methods and materials. Within a few exchanges, we’d settled on additive manufacturing with a nylon 12 material, and Proto Labs gave us a quote: $605.88 in black, $701.74 including a dying process for the indigo color we’d previously chosen.
The part as modeled was pretty big—decreasing it to about a third of the original size brought Proto Labs’ quote down to $150.94. A lot less expensive, but considering the frivolousness of our part, we’ll stick to our in-house 3D printer for now.
Had we preceded with Proto Labs, we would have been sent a formal quote through Marketplace to kick off the process. We were quoted a lead-time of four days, so had we opted for the quickest delivery option (FedEx Priority), we would have had the part in-hand by the end of the week.
And there you have it—on-demand manufacturing doesn’t get much simpler than this.