The Xometry app works best with JavaScript enabled!
Xometry Logo
CapabilitiesIndustriesResourcesSuppliesBecome a Partner
Sign In
Cookie Policy
Xometry stores cookies on your computer to provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. By using this website, you consent to the cookies we use and our Privacy Policy.
Blog3D Printing

Top 5 Reasons Fortune 500 Firms Outsource 3D Printing Projects

Not all manufacturers can build everything in-house. Even some of the largest Fortune 500 companies outsource 3D printing projects for both prototypes and production runs.

By Team Xometry
 3 min read
SIMILAR STORIES
The Top 4 CNC Equipment Enhancements You Should Be Using in Your Shop
September 18, 2020
 3 min read

Not all manufacturers can build everything in-house. Even some of the largest Fortune 500 companies outsource 3D printing projects for both prototypes and production runs.

Why do they do this? Despite having a variety of resources at their disposal ‒ including sometimes their own 3D printing labs ‒ outsourcing for these firms can be a faster, less expensive and easier route.

Below are the top five reasons why.

Capacity

Even for large companies that have their own 3D printers, resource constraints can cause bottlenecks in production. If a firm’s 3D printers are tied up on other projects, teams can’t get parts built fast enough. As a solution, outsourcing this production allows them to harness additional capacity.

To help reduce lead times, we utilize multiple machines that run the same technology, as well as 3D printers with some of the largest build volumes on the market (like the FDM one at left). This combination allows us to maximize the number of parts we can print at once, and help eliminate production bottlenecks.

Technology

A Fortune 500 firm may outsource production, because they don’t have the right equipment. For example, they may own a SLA machine, but don’t have a metal 3D printer in-house.

Given the high upfront costs of professional 3D printers and the rapid pace of 3D printing innovation, many firms don’t want to pay for a new 3D technology, only to have it be outmoded by something better in a few years.

At Xometry, we’re constantly evaluating the latest 3D printing technologies, and adding more processes and materials, so customers can build exactly what they need.

Cost

Owning a high-end 3D printer can be expensive. On top of the machine costs, firms also need raw materials, special infrastructure (e.g., lots of electric), and skilled labor to operate them. Despite advances in technology, much of professional 3D printing is still a manual process, which is why labor is critical.

Even if a firm has the right equipment in-house, it may actually be less expensive to outsource a project than to build it themselves. At Xometry, we order raw material in bulk and build multiple orders at once (similar to the SLS parts at left), generating economies of scale and driving down costs.

Expertise

Like other manufacturing technologies, the professional 3D printing learning curve can be steep. Given that the sector that is still relatively new, expertise is a key component to 3D printing operations.

Firms need the right knowledge and experience to not only operate the machine, but also to set up the parts in an ideal manner. Small changes in equipment, build orientation, mix of materials, and support material (if applicable) can all impact results.

Additionally, complementary processes to 3D printing, such as achieving the right finish through CNC machining, or adding custom features, also plays large role here.

Lead Times

Production lead times often go hand-in-hand with the earlier section on available capacity. If constrained by time, and it can be faster for firms to outsource 3D printing.

But another major advantage for outsourcing production is reducing the lead time that it takes to get a specific kind of of material.

For example, we stock dozens of PolyJet 3D printing materials — including Rigid Opaque, Rubber-Like, Simulated Polypro, and Translucent/Clear — in-house. This way, orders can be fulfilled and shipped out as quickly as possible.

Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.

Quick Links

  • Careers

  • Contact Us

  • Help Center

  • Legal

  • Our Story

  • Press

  • Xometry Go Green

Locations

  • 7940 Cessna Avenue
    Gaithersburg, MD 20879
    240-252-1138


  • 7315 Wisconsin Ave
    Suite 300 East
    Bethesda, MD 20814


  • 446 East High Street
    Lexington, KY 40507


  • 800 Winchester Rd
    Lexington, KY 40505


  • 11777 San Vicente Blvd
    Suite 747
    Los Angeles, CA 90049


  • 117 Wright Industrial Cove
    Jackson, TN 38301


  • Ada-Lovelace-Str. 9
    85521 Ottobrunn, Germany
    +49 32 22 109 8186

Xometry Go Green Initiative
1.0M+
LBS OF C02 OFFSET

Xometry
© 2020 Xometry, All Rights Reserved