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ResourcesBlogWebinar: From Sketch to SKU: Developing XiP, the World’s First Ultrafast Desktop 3D Printer
From Sketch to Sku: Developing XiP, the World's First Ultrafast Desktop 3D Printer

Webinar: From Sketch to SKU: Developing XiP, the World’s First Ultrafast Desktop 3D Printer

Learn how Xometry’s AI-powered technologies, diverse supplier network, and dedicated team of subject matter experts helped the team at Nexa3D bring the XiP printer to market quickly and affordably.

A headshot picture of Nathaniel Miller
By Nathaniel Miller
November 4, 2022
 48 min read
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Nexa3D has just released the XiP, a new desktop-sized printer boasting impressive production capabilities. To bring this product to market on time, they needed a manufacturing supplier that could provide parts from a variety of processes and could help guide them through product development. Xometry helped reduce the lead time from concept to commercial product from years to only 18 months.

In this live webinar, you will:

  • Learn about the product development and prototyping of the XiP from Nexa3D engineers
  • Understand what sets the LSPc XiP printer apart from other desktop 3D printers
  • Discover how Xometry’s platform can be a supply chain and sourcing powerhouse for hardware startups from prototyping to production
  • Learn how Nexa3D and Xometry collaborated to reduce and offset the carbon footprint of their manufacturing efforts

Full Transcript

Greg Paulsen:

All right, well I think this is a good time to get started. There's just so much to cover today, and I'm really excited to have our guests on from Nexa3D as well. Again, welcome to today's webinar. My name is Greg Paulsen and we're going to be talking about from sketch to SKU, developing XiP, the world's first ultra fast 3D printer. We're going to be focusing on the product development of the XiP and we're going to have our team members on board. Before we jump into introductions, I do want to go over a quick agenda about what we're going to be talking through. So I'm going to talk a little bit about Xometry after we introduce our folks. Then we're going to talk about Nexa and what Nexa is working on in Nexa3D. And then we are going to go through a story of the XiP and some of the product development goals that we had.

And we've highlighted three particular case studies around that. And we're going to have a discussion based conversation about the product development, running the challenges along those product development fields, and how they were overcome. At the very end, we'll talk over some more resources that we have and we're just really excited to get going. So let's take a look at these friendly faces here. I'll give a quick intro introduction myself. First off, my name's Greg Paulsen. I'm the director of application engineering at Xometry. I wear a lot of hats. I've been a buyer, a designer, a supplier of manufactured parts of all shapes and sizes, and I've worked as professional in additive manufacturing for about 15 years, since 2007.

I've run machines as well as been part of the procurement and even validation side in additive manufacturing. And I work with customers, I succeed vicariously through them, working through Xometry through thousands upon thousands of projects. I now also want to introduce the team at Nexa3D. We have two awesome engineers here. Let's start with Eduardo Reveles, a mechanical engineer at Nexa3D focused on the XiP desktop, MSLA printer. Eduardo holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of California Riverside and has been with Nexa3D for about three and a half years. Hey Eduardo, how are you?

Eduardo Reveles:

Hello Greg. Thank you for having us today.

Greg Paulsen:

Absolutely. And yeah, joining Eduardo is Kenyon Whetsell, the director of mechanical engineering at Nexa3D. Kenyon has been with the Nexa team for over four years, has worked as a mechanical engineer for Haas and a product engineer for DP Technology in his previous roles. Hey Kenyon.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Hey Greg. Hi everybody. Yeah, just want to say welcome and thanks everybody for joining us and thanks to you Greg and the Xometry team for having us here. We're definitely really excited to talk about Nexa3D and the XiP project.

Greg Paulsen:

Absolutely, yeah. And it is so funny, when we talk about this, I always wish we record our prep sessions because it's just geeking out. So as we were preparing for this, there was just so much geeking out back and forth and we're distilling it to some of the core concepts, but it's always really fun to prep with engineers. Some notes though before we begin, we love answering questions, we live in context. On the go-to webinar platform there's a questions and answers field that you can fill out. Please use that to an answer any questions. We will be monitoring these questions as they come in, so please submit them anytime. You'll also be able to get a recording of this webinar after it's over. So we usually email those out a day or two after the event. And that's something that you can go to re-watch the event or share with your colleagues and stick around though to the end of this event because we will have some discount codes and offerings.

So I know Xometry, we have a discount for our services and a really fun thing, Nexa3D is also has a Rook giveaway. So their xRook design, they'll print some out on the XiP 3D printer and send it to you. So we'll have some information about that offering at the end here. So I'm going to jump in, tell you a little bit about Xometry and then we're going to get into the main discussion here. Xometry, we make a lot of parts. We've been open since around 2013. Had some really exciting news in 2021 when we went public over NASDAQ for XMTR, but we serve over 30,000 active buyers and we also connect those buyers with over 10,000 active suppliers. Xometry is a digital manufacturing marketplace, so we're able to make the aspect of sourcing and fulfillment very, very simple.

Xometry is also connected with Thomasnet. So we acquired Thomasnet last December, which expands us out to even over half a million supplier bases. Our goal is to be the first place you go to get custom parts sourced, period. And we offer full managed manufacturing services. What is a digital manufacturing marketplace? It's something new. Xometry kind of invented the field, so I always like to bring this slide up to go over the concept. Along the way there's been very established industries, they're around everywhere. When you think about travel, auto, transportation and what we've seen in the last couple decades is a digital disruption, whether it's Airbnb for travel, or what Amazon has done for the retail services, or Uber or Lyft for transportation. And when you look at manufacturing, that gap was also there. There were people who needed stuff made who didn't know the right suppliers to make it those parts or didn't always have a full list, they didn't omnipotent in their abilities.

And same thing with suppliers, suppliers are typically working local and they may be perfect for that group out in California, but they're in Utah or they're in Virginia and they may never have that connection. Xometry came in and built a platform that allows buyers, people who are looking to get something made very easily configure and get pricing and lead times. We call it our instant quoting engine where you could upload a 3D model. We actually use AI machine learning to provide pricing and lead times and we're offering our 17 manufacturing technologies through our instant coding engine. And we also have that same platform for the supplier side. So they have something that we call work center that allows them to take a look at work that's specifically paired up with what they're great at. So suppliers are able to see work on demand that's relevant to their project needs and it allows us to have massive supply chains managed through technology. So it's really a win-win, giving accessibility and kind of democratizing manufacturing for everybody.

So what's the relationship with Xometry and Nexa3D? Well, like a lot of our large customers at Xometry, it starts with a few parts. Usually engineers like Eduardo will find Xometry to get something made, whether it's rapid prototype or something where you just have a CAD file, upload, get a price, looks great, press buy and we grew from there. Nexa serves multiple industries being a 3D printing OEM, so whether it's consumer products, medical devices, dental products, or even university labs, this is their industry overall. As a OEM, when they're producing this electromechanical system, those mechanical components became Xometry work. We essentially worked with them on creating and producing those items, whether from the rapid prototype stage or into the saleable production units. And we're going to talk a lot about that today. But you can see the services utilize are pretty comprehensive, whether it's machine parts, molded parts, some sheet metal components, even extrusion came along with them and I didn't even put, well, I have rapid prototyping, but I didn't even say 3D printing services there.

But through the [inaudible 00:08:11] product development, Xometry can be a consolidator for just getting stuff made and stuff done. Nexa released XiP, which Kenyon's going to talk about in just a moment here that fits a market where they're looking a professional desktop SLA style printer. And to bring it to market with aggressive lead times, they really needed the right manufacturing partner. And what Xometry was able to do was use our platform, like I said, it starts with that click, drag, and upload of a file, but we were able to show and prove ourselves that we can move with them whatever their scale requirements are, using our professional teams of engineers as well as our expansive platform through Xometry. So let's get into the details. Let's get started and I'm going to pass the mic over to Kenyon for a little bit. Just tell me about Nexa, what were you looking to achieve and tell me more about the XiP.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, thanks Greg. So a couple years ago we launched the Nxc-400, which was really the first product to the market utilizing our LSPC technology, and I'll talk to that a little bit more in a moment. But with that product we were able to give our customers really unprecedented speed and productivity for a photo polymer 3D printer in this class more than six times faster and still having industrial level accuracy and tolerances. So the XiP project was all about taking that printing speed and quality that we've had in our flagship NX printers and scaling that functionality to a package that would be accessible to a broader audience.

So not only industrial and manufacturing, but also offices, engineering, dental, tons of possibilities. We wanted to develop the first desktop sized machine that would be straightforward to use, offer that industrial level productivity and really be a no compromises product all around, which I think is really unique to the market. And I think it's worth pointing out, we did this all in less than 18 months during a pandemic. So all those normal supply chain challenges aside, we knew that having the right partners would be critical to a successful outcome.

Greg Paulsen:

And I really like your statement of the no compromises either. This is a professional system that fits on a desktop is the best way to say it. And I've worked with professional SLA style systems or DLP style systems and I've seen the miniaturized versions, the desktop versions and usually the compromise to get that small is mess. Like yeah, the function's there, but everything you have to do the prep and clean on afterwards is often a very manual and very messy, sticky task. So let's jump through some of the tech specs really quickly here. And by the way, as I said, for anybody who wants more tech specs as well or has any questions, the Q and A tab, please use that to ask questions along the way and we'll be able to follow up at the end of this presentation as well.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, so going over the tech specs here, 4.8 liters of build volume and speed of course is really key to this product up to 18 centimeters per hour. As an engineer, and I'm sure Eduardo could attest to this as well, this is pretty huge. Prior to Nexa3D, I was accustomed to utilizing 3D printers for a prototype maybe once a day. But with printers like this, we can get prototypes, two, three, sometimes four iterations in our hands in a single workday, which of course helps developing products like this that much faster for ourselves. And of course looking beyond prototyping, actually across many of our current product lines, there are instances where we've opted to print various components for production. So the size and speed we're talking about here is certainly more than capable of manufacturing demand when needed.

Greg Paulsen:

Go ahead.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Resolution as small as 50 microns, you know can certainly get all those finer details and accuracy. The tolerances that you need. Of course it's based around that same LSPC technology found in the NX printers and this product in particular has a lot of unique and valuable user experience features such as a resin delivery cartridge that we'll explain it a bit more detail. And very importantly it's priced very accessibly under 6,000 US dollars.

Greg Paulsen:

And like I said, I like that your suitability scores also office. And it is really interesting because when you move from a factory where factories, we may build out places for post-processing, but when you are designing something for office and consumer environment, and we're going to talk a little bit more about some of those considerations, but like I said, you really do have to make the kit and the user experience very, very accessible. So speaking of, let's talk about this, you have been tasked T minus 18 months to bring something to market and this is going from essentially, truly concept to a commercialization effort here.

We're going to talk about three specific items as we go through this because they each highlight a different requirement and engineering challenge related to them. But know that Xometry, we worked with you on a multitude of this, most of the mechanical items that you see in the XiP were produced through Xometry in our supplier network. So we've had a really great relationship and experience along the way with you all. But yeah, let's start off with the first example here. So let's talk enclosures.

Tell me a little bit about this and Kenyon I'll start with you and we'll talk about the engineering, the technicals in a second here with Eduardo. But what did you have to start with and what were the goals when you talked about the look and the mechanics of the enclosure?

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, so we talked about some of the stuff inside, but the form really needed to suit that industrial nature and functionality of the machine so that it could be equally at home in an office space or maker environment as it would be in that full scale manufacturing environment. We worked with our industrial and product design teams to arrive at these concepts that you see here, these are some of the sort early renders and concepts, so that it would not only have the appropriate build quality but also that right look and feel commensurative of what's inside.

And it's important to note also that as an organization, Nexa3D is always mindful of sustainability as one of our core tenants. We're a member of the Additive Manufacturing Green Trade Association. We're constantly looking ways to reduce or even eliminate our environmental footprint. So we prioritize recyclable or recycled materials and therefore converged on aluminum as the primary enclosure material since it's the most recycled material on the planet. But it still allowed for that build quality and robustness that we needed and that our customers wanted.

As I'm sure a lot of engineering teams and a lot of the engineers who are on this call would be familiar with, the product specs we were challenged with were, let's say a little broad. So something like, make it look as good as this tablet or phone or watch that we've got here. But of course we didn't have too much of a starting point in terms of how to achieve that surface finish, that surface roughness, et cetera. But I think our engineering teams and also Xometry of course, really stepped up to that challenge,

Greg Paulsen:

This fun to discuss because it's making mechanical designs and iterative prototyping, a lot of times the cosmetics, you'll get to a good enough stage but you are producing a saleable item and you need to produce it at scale. So it's very different. And I just imagine Eduardo sitting at his desk and Kenyon walking up to him and slapping a picture like this or maybe just digitally sending to him in Slack or whatnot saying, "Make it like this." So here's your specs Eduardo, just tell me a little bit about the engineering challenges you had. You're making this out of aluminum, and just walk me through that.

Eduardo Reveles:

Well Greg, being honest, that's exactly how Kenyon came up to me and we were aware of what the product team and overall Nexa wanted for this product and we didn't have much to go off. So we had to start from scratch. We didn't have much of a foundation, but we started with these aluminum panels as you see there on the image below. And we tried a few different things. We worked with local vendors, local shops. A fun story on that was that we literally were going through every local shop in our county and we couldn't come to the right solution on that. So I think that's when Xometry really helped us out on being able to, how you explained earlier, that connection with someone out of our county to help us out.

Greg Paulsen:

And I think this is something really interesting and I think we've mentioned this lot when we were discussing this, there's a lot of paradigm shifts with what you see Xometry as starting off as an engineer and the way you're interfacing with us and then what else Xometry can do. And this is definitely one of those first examples of this that we had was, I have a product that one part needs to look this good, but not just that, the parts beside it need to look the same and the whole integration and then every time I make this unit, so every single time this is done, it needs to look consistent throughout and that's where a conversation is handy. And I think that's something that was one of the first paradigm shifts was us understanding that you can talk with Xometry. There's a man behind the curtain because we have a lot of automation, we have a lot in our interface, but when you're looking at the scale and production, it is very different than just a click, drag, upload experience.

The technical information is still shared that way, but what else we could do is different. And I think, Eduardo in this case, we were able to take a look at the bill of material, work to take your communication, so what your goals were and turn it into specs, turn it into requirements to communicate to our suppliers as well as look at all the parts that had to have that look and create a templatized way of repeating that.

So that is to your point, I think you mentioned you just got in a car and just started driving around, which I think if anyone's in product development on this call, we've been there. I've always been on those runs too when you just need to get something to ship that day so you're just kind of waiting outside your finisher's parking lot until they're done and then you go and pick it up and this is one of those moments, it's like, I need a solution. But with Xometry, with the reach that we have for our network as well as our manufacturing suppliers all around and we're serving, we have manufacturers in 46 states here in the US and then also global manufacturing network. We've been able to expand that. So these are the final results. This is the XiP launch and hey, there's Eduardo there. So this is your launch at Formnext, is that right?

Eduardo Reveles:

Yeah, that's correct.

Greg Paulsen:

And you can see when we talk about these machine components, all of this is CNC machines. So the fan vent area, the pieces of the door, that wrap around feature that goes around the front and back of the unit as well that's curling up to the roof there, all that had to have a consistent look and it's something that we were able again, to have that conversation, reaching in our network, and build those requirements to achieve that goal. So the next example that we have, and each one of these we're hoping to frame in a different way is this build plate. And this is actually again, I think an awesome example of what happens in reality, what happens when you're in production and when you're really manufacturing. So before we get into those details though, I think it's really important to understand why these requirements are so important and Kenyon, walk me through the design and why the bill plate is just so critical to this machine here.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, and as you said Greg, I think it's a great chance to take a little step back and speak a bit about the background of that LSPC technology that I mentioned. And Nexa's technology overall because it'll help provide a bit of context on why this was particularly challenging for the engineering teams and sort of unique for the XiP. So LSPC specifically refers to our membrane technology, which is the interface of the build platform and the print engine. And that significantly reduces the peel forces that are otherwise actually inherent in SLA 3D printers. And that reduction of peel forces is what unlocks a much greater capability of the print engine itself. So more power, better resolution, better accuracy, higher reliability, and of course the faster speeds up to that 18 centimeters per hour, which allowed for significantly higher productivity.

We spoke earlier about the 15 micron tolerances the XiP is capable of achieving, so it's kind of clear from that to see that the build plate, which is actually the printing surface and it's alignment relative to that print engine, is critical to realize the tolerances, ensure the homogeneous material properties and also get that print reliability that our customers need. So things like flatness of the build plate, parallelism to the build surface, those are all very key in realizing those. And actually we had really good success with the pre-production units just before going to launch by aligning each build plate itself to the machine. I think Eduardo and the rest of the engineering team did an awesome job, maybe a bit too good, because Eduardo got thrown a bit of a curve ball by some of the late feature and requirement changes by our product team. Which again, I'm sure engineers on this call might be used to, but I think it worked out in the interest of providing ultimately the best possible product for our customers.

Greg Paulsen:

And so what was that requirement change? What happened? And I guess Eduardo, my next question is, where did that happen in the development cycle?

Eduardo Reveles:

Yeah, I think the interesting part on that was that we had already finalized the designs for the build plate, Xometry the whole time, had our designs with them and like Kenyon mentioned, we were having successful prints, it was meeting the flatness call outs, but I think the product team came to us very last minute to add this feature that I think is very useful for the user himself, herself was to make these build plates interchangeable so the build plate won't be stuck to one machine. And the part that really helped us out was Xometry was able to be very reactive on that and we were able to ship them out new designs very late in the game and they were able to react to that and assist us in those.

Greg Paulsen:

And this is where on our side, again, in a typical state, if you're doing low volume work, a lot of times that is fully automated. So if I'm building a dozen items, I could go press order and honestly within 24 hours your parts may have to be started. They may already to be running. At this point, we've worked with you through iterative prototyping. So as Kenyon mentioned, we had design iterations, we validated the design, the tolerances, the precision, fit, and then post-PO. This is a almost an ECO, engineering change order. Things are in production and we had a change. What that looks like from our side is first off, we have a way of communicating. So whether it is through your sales lead or talking directly with a case manager if you've already been in collaboration with them, and I think in this case we already set a Slack channel with you.

Sometimes we work with what... We meet you where you are, what's the best way to communicate? And I don't say every job has a Slack channel, but I'm saying that when you're in production, our goal is to just be there right with you, be a true partner with you. And what we see on our digital landscape is those new technical files, we're able to contact and flag via our work center with a supplier, any potential changes and get them to a point where we see where they are and get files revised on the digital platform, review any changes needed and make those outcomes. And this is a great example, it's not a everyday example, but again, when we work from production, it's a partnership, it's a little bit different than just the regular iteration, it's something we're able to do and make that and achieve that.

And again, for you it's all white glove service. Our team is handling that. You just give us the new revs and we work that out. So really happy we make that change. And I think to your point too, building interchangeable build plates on this design, I've seen the XiP and I've seen a lot of people look at the XiP as actually a, I'm not going to say a farm piece like for 3D printer farm, but I could definitely see how ideal it is to have multiple of these units and being able to exchange trays out and put them in the cleaning stations and work through your product build design cycle without having one tray married to a machine. So overall it's a win-win. We're able to make that design change and incorporate that into our production. And for you all, I mean, it's a more compelling product as well.

Eduardo Reveles:

And Greg, just to add on that and emphasize the importance of how quickly it was for us to get on the phone or Slack messages. Sometimes emails might take a day or two, but in this instance Xometry was able to hear the problem that day and they were able to react that day.

Greg Paulsen:

And honestly, there's businesses behind that. You have your suppliers too and we have supplier empathy, so it's like what we know, they know, what you know, we know. So yeah, I'm glad we were able to get that response. So we talked about this enclosure. Again, these are still precision machine goods and they had a very unique goal where they needed to be consistent across the set as well as across production lines. We were able to help meet not just the specs, the mechanical needs, but also the cosmetic needs and find a solution for you. We highlighted this build plate because the build plate was a very tightly toed design, particularly because of everything that the LSPC technology requires for that. And then we also liked the stories show that engineering changes can happen. They're not always ideal, but we're able to go with the punches because that's what manufacturing is.

Manufacturing is tangible, it's real stuff, and we're able to adapt to that and leverage our technology platform all the same. And this one's a little bit of what I call a prototype to production phase here. So this is the resin cartridge. And also I think from after talking to you and hearing from you, I really think the resin cartridge is also one of those items that really makes or breaks the user experience from what I've heard from you. So let's talk about that now. And this is the cartridge, showing you some prototypes here. But yeah, Kenyon or Eduardo, let's walk me through the resin cartridge and what it is and what it needed to do.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right Greg, it is a make or break and we knew that going in. I think one of the really great features about the XiP is that it has an open material or resin platform, but we also have this full line of engineering materials each with pretty unique characteristics as well as of course the thoroughly proven processes to compliment those materials. And in the XiP we utilize this cartridge to provide those. And normally resins are kind of the dirty side of SLA printing, I think, that nobody likes to talk about. But since we ultimately wanted that best overall user experience possible, our engineering team got their heads together, Eduardo and the rest of the engineering team got their hands sticky so that our customers wouldn't have to. The resin cartridge I think, ultimately is a really elegant solution to one of photo polymer printing's biggest pain points, what is normally one of the biggest pain points.

In addition to the user experience goals, of course, the fill time needed to keep up with the machine's productivity that we spoke to, so performance was an important goal. Cost targets were key once reaching production, since this is the largest consumable associated with printers like this and we didn't want to pass unnecessary cost off to our customers. We also wanted a wireless technology in the cartridge to kind of handshake with the printer and the job file to make sure that we had the right processes that I spoke to. And I think most importantly, reliability was key. We'd heard some horror stories, I guess, from competitor solutions of materials arriving with leaks or spills or maybe even worse. And we wanted to be absolutely certain that this wasn't a possibility for our customers. And last, since we do offer such a broad range of materials as well as the possibility for open materials, chemical compatibility is actually quite important as well in the final product.

Greg Paulsen:

Absolutely. And Eduardo, walk me through that. So you were tasked with building and designing around this resin cartridge. Kind of walk me through your product iterations, where you started and essentially, and actually I think there'd be some curiosity on how many iterations did you really go through as you're building out this design?

Eduardo Reveles:

Well, yeah, I mean, quickly you could see on the image below, I think every single one of those caps is a different iteration. So you could see how quickly we had to iterate on this to bring this to production. But yeah, I mean we do have 3D printers in house that we could quickly prototype, but how you mentioned as well as Kenyon was some of these materials weren't compatible within one another or especially when they're making contact with uncured material. So we kind of had to go through, in this case, Xometry and they were able to offer alternative 3D printing solutions that still met the quality we expect from these designs to keep us moving forward and be able to reach those product requirements that Kenyon mentioned.

Greg Paulsen:

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, we have eight unique types of additive manufacturing quoting on our site right now. So there's definitely a lot to choose from. I think between all those, it's ton of materials, dozens and dozens of materials as well. And each one of those technologies we are able to still meet you where you are with your timeline. So you could always have expedite options on certain tech, but almost all of these will ship within the week of order. So as you're working through iterative product development, this is something that it's the next best thing to having a printer on your desktop.

Which again, I think you're spoiled because I think that you were telling me these ones on the right hand were built with your product I think.

Eduardo Reveles:

Yeah, that's true.

Greg Paulsen:

You're able to get the mix, but I think for the functional prototypes going through, you're using some of our thermoplastic processes running through. And by the way, I love this because this is what product development looks like, testing, trial, iteration. There's always this fantasy that the first time you try it it's right. But honestly, if you think it is, it's just hubris. I always think the first time if you're building something, and even in my experience when I work on product development design, I will often do a shotgun approach with 3D printing where I'll go and build one, two, three iterations and literally send all three out at the same time on the job just so I could test and validate a few things at a time. But 3D printing-

Kenyon Whetsell:

We wanted this to be perfect, Greg. So yeah, really this is sort of the tip of the iceberg. And Eduardo knows we'd put these in the mail and ship them to ourselves to make sure that, simulating the full customer workflow and we wanted to do that with as close to a representative product of what would be ultimately molded and things like that at the end of the day.

Greg Paulsen:

Yeah, I'm adding that to my list by the way when I'm testing out a consumer product is, ship it to myself across the US, make sure it's in a plane and meets shock and vibe and pressure requirements. And as you mentioned, nothing's worse than getting a resin cartridge that's leaking into the package.

Kenyon Whetsell:

The simulations only go so far.

Greg Paulsen:

And so you go through this iterative product development process. Additive or a lot of these technologies could only bring you so far, but you're hitting the masses. So you had to pivot to a production grade technology. In this case, what made the most sense was plastic injection molding. Can you walk me through that? So you've gone, you've solidified your design. Tell me about your experience moving with molding. Xometry, we provided the molded products, I have to say that, but yeah.

Eduardo Reveles:

So I mean, Kenyon kind of touched on it earlier, but one of the points we had to go across was as we were iterating on the prototypes, we had to have production in the back of our head. And I think the very helpful part from Xometry was that we were able to work in parallel with them to start DFM changes for the components on the cartridge to get it to an injection molded design. So I think that that sped up time because we didn't have to speak to a new vendor and start the whole process from scratch. I think Xometry was with us throughout the whole time where they knew what the components looked like, they had printed them before and now it was just to get to that production phase.

Greg Paulsen:

I've done whole presentations on what I call the parallel path, which is something that's unique for Xometry. We greatly not just enjoy, like I said, we live vicariously through the success of our customers just like Nexa. Everything that we've done, I mean, we're proud of the work that we were able to achieve and honestly the designs that you've made are amazing and we want to always build parts to the quality, we always want to build that relationship and know where your parts are going if at all possible. So in this case, somewhere along that product development life cycle, we understood that these iterative prototypes were going somewhere and we started to have that conversation with you about what are your goals and what else Xometry is capable of doing. And a lot of times I see that with 3D printing where you see exactly, I'm going to move back to the previous slide here, that highly iterative once or twice a week a new design's coming out and then at some point you see three or five or 10 of the same design and you know that a revs starting to get locked in.

You know that revision is starting to solidify and that's great and that's a lot of times when you move the mold. But what we've seen is the earlier we get in that conversation, the more that iteration becomes more and more tuned to the final process. Because 3D printing very often can achieve that geometry. That's also moldable, adding uniformity, undercuts, draft, just making sure that all the SIGs are there because when we move to injection molding, we work with you on other things like how are we going to approach the tool? Tooling setup, parting lines, ejection areas, gating strategies. And if you already have that design solidified and kind of tuned out in the prototyping phase, it helps speed up that go button so it's not a go, then stop, rev change, add drafts here. It's, it's a go, we talk about the technical tooling requirements, and we're cutting metal. And making molds.

So can Kenyon you asked for this. So I actually changed the picture right before this presentation because I think this is the sense of pride. This is your goal, a package going to the customer. And this is something that we worked with you to achieve and we built, I think over 80% of the mechanical bill materials that went into the XiP like this ultra fast desktop 3D printer. And in collaboration with Nexa as we were as being your production partner, helped bring that to market from literally that make it look like this brushed aluminum or this bead blast aluminum, and here's my industrial design, files to a box product going on to a customer in 18 months.

Kenyon Whetsell:

And in retrospect, maybe we should have called it kind of sketch to print, sketch to SKU. I like the title but I wonder if we should have called it sketch to print. I think ultimately, at the end of the day we're not happy unless our customers are. Once they're printing, that's when we're satisfied, once they're satisfied. But certainly throughout this whole project and working with Xometry, Xometry is really unique compared to other manufacturing vendors that I've worked with and that we've worked with. But likewise, I think Nexa3D isn't exactly a company that I'd call a conventional manufacturer either. We get really excited when we have game changing technology or developments that we want in our customers hands as quickly as possible so that they can realize the value of those innovations. And of course having the right partners who can keep up with that pace is difficult but also essential to that point.

Certainly as Eduardo noted previously, when we're developing products at Nexa, our printers are certainly capable of providing the printed prototypes and production parts and some production parts, but every technology has the right use case. So we'd had some prior familiarity with Xometry and we'd utilized them for things like prototypes, quick turn parts, and they excelled at that. No complaints, certainly. We'd also used Xometry auto quoting engine to, getting R and D or prototype parts quick and easy for those purposes. And Eduardo, I think we've all done the same on the engineering team, using that auto quoting engine to confirm some of our own estimations or assumptions when designing for cost and manufacturability, things like that. It's pretty powerful for that. But while developing the XiP project and working with Xometry, xometry really challenged our assumption of those capabilities and showed us the value of their domain expertise, their in-house capabilities for production that were a good match to what Nexa3D needed for our customers, matching that pace of innovation and scaling a product like this.

Greg Paulsen:

Thank you. And I think something else from a corporate and social responsibility standpoint, I think Xometry and NEXA really did mesh with our environmental initiatives. There's a lot of responsibility, especially being a manufacturing marketplace. We're connected to over 1,000 suppliers doing, I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of manufacture projects and those are shippable items. Xometry started its Go Green initiative a couple years ago. And something that we do is for every shipment, so anybody who's on this webinar who's ordered parts and had them shipped by Xometry, we've already offset the carbon footprint of that shipment. It's something that we do courtesy within our platform. And as a marketplace it's really unique because if you ask all these individual suppliers to say, "Hey, can you offset the carbon footprint?: They'll be like, :How do I do that? Where do I start?" So being a marketplace gives us liable leverage to show those responsibilities to implement programs like that.

Even within our interface, there's actually options to offset the manufacturing so that you can actually volunteer to do offsets for forestry, wind, or solar. And so far and counting we've offset over six million pounds of carbon dioxide just within the launch period of this program. So it's been very successful as we're going along. And a part of that is just because it's built in, it's a built in program. And I think talking with Nexa and [inaudible 00:44:44], that's something else that is a big focus there. So I mean you mentioned AMGTA, so you're part of that consortium and working on recyclability and you also, yeah, you guys invest in forestry as well, right?

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, I think this is another reason why this was a really good match for a partnership on a project like this. One of Nexa3D's core tenants, actually the core tenants of Nexa is to digitize the world's supply chain sustainably. And there's a number of ways that we've incorporated that commitment in the scope of this project when developing the XiP. First, it's a super efficient machine. More than 80% of the power of consumption goes towards the actual printing process. We spoke about that, the recyclable materials including the aluminum enclosure. And we have somewhat of a similar program similar to Xometry's initiative. We offset our impact by planting 10 trees for myself, for Eduardo, for every employed Nexer, we call them, as well as 10 trees for every XiP that's sold. So actually to date, we have planted well over 3,000 trees and counting since that program started.

Greg Paulsen:

So you have Nexers, we have Xomers or sometimes in the season we're Xombies if it's a Halloween season here. And by the way, this is a great time, we're about to get to the question and answer. I got one slide to go here. If you do have any questions, please feel free to type them into the questions tab. We have live Q and A, we love talking context commentary, feel free to ask us anything. And we were talking about the instant quoting engine. I really wanted to focus on the engineering stories, but this is a free tool, xometry.com you can go and click, get an instant quote, upload your 3D CAD file, and you can see pricing lead time over a variety of different manufacturing disciplines. And we're not just making shapes, we're making parts. So beyond just the part design, you could go and further specify threads, tapped holes, added inserts, certifications, inspection requirements, finishes options, multiple finishes, you name it and you can actually go and I call it building your love letter to your manufacturer. Specking out on the Xometry page and you'll see your pricing lead times dynamically update.

Even though that's not something that you see directly, so Eduardo is a really good case when we talk about the aluminum housing, it's not just be bead blast, it's not just anodized, it has a higher level requirement to it. You can write in your requirements, excuse me, you can write in your requirements and that custom field will move to an engineering quote where you could submit that engineering quote, it goes to our internal team of experts who are able to go and review that. And typically we're turning these quotes around within about a business day or so. So even when it's the manual side of it, we don't mind that actually we really like taking a look at these projects and when they have special needs, they have special needs and we're able to handle those as well.

Last thing is that if you do have SolidWorks, if you use Onshape, if you're using Fusion 360, or Inventor, Xometry has free CAD add-ins available. So we meet you where you are in your design environment and some of them have built in DFM and other tools available. And we are up to 17 manufacturing technologies, so the traditional machining, sheet metal, sheet cutting, we had a tube fabrication and laser tube cutting sheet metal scaling up. We have stamping, CNC machining scale up, we have die casting, or you can use exclusions to save some operations. And under additive alone, it's eight unique additive manufacturing process and counting. So again, our goal is to be the first place you go to get custom manufacturing parts.

So on that note, I think it's time to move to some Q and A. And again, please feel free to add some questions as well as we're talking along here. And I think we have a few questions already. I also want to highlight that if you want to try Xometry for the first time, we have a discount code, which is this... Well I thought it was 2TRY, but just read it in your mind here. But that's a discount code that you could use to save $25 on your first order. And also I put a QR code up here as well, so if you want to see what type of part the XiP produces, I may actually do this as well right after this event here because I want this really cool Rook. So you could scan the QR code to get the xRook printed in through the XiP platform. So I have a question that I think this is a good one for Eduardo, what's the favorite feature that you designed on the XiP?

Eduardo Reveles:

I mean, I worked mainly on the enclosure, so I'd say I'm very proud of how I came out and I think it's pretty pleasing to look at. But one of the cool features on the XiP, I think stands out to most people is the vat. It contains some electromagnetics on there, so it's a tool less attachment. So I think that's very cool. It really contributes to that user experience we want to offer our customers is to be able to just slip in the vat and be able to attach without having to twists or turn any levers, any cams. So I think I would say that's probably one of my favorite features on the XiP there.

Greg Paulsen:

And that's talking about the vat, that's going to be like it's a machined component and it has a window on it and it holds the resin.

Eduardo Reveles:

Yeah, so it holds all the resin and you're able to just slip in. Most printers usually have some sort of lever that you have to turn or some thumb screws and this one just snaps on. So I think that's a pretty cool feature on the XiP there.

Greg Paulsen:

Yeah, I appreciate that too. So we had a XiP up over at our booth when we were at IMTS in September, and that was the most accessible piece other than the build tray for me to just show a machine component because I would just reach in and pop it out and say, "Take a look at this component there." So it was so intuitive I didn't think twice about it, which means it works. The best engineering doesn't require an instruction manual and I think that's great. Speaking of materials and the work here too, what type of materials is the XiP printing? Tell me a little bit about the material portfolio that you have.

Kenyon Whetsell:

I can take that one Eduardo. I think one of the cool things about, again, I noted the open material platform, but one of the cool things I think about the materials that we have those proven processes and parameters for is that all of those are actually collaborations with the world's leading material suppliers. So that includes Henkel, BASF, Evonik, Arkema, and really whatever you're looking for, engineering grade materials, high temperature materials, flexible materials, super fast prototyping materials for example. And that's kind of just scratching the surface, you got the mechanical engineering team here, not the process and applications team. So I'm maybe not the best one to speak to it, but I definitely encourage you to visit our websites and you can get the full rundown of materials.

Greg Paulsen:

And I cannot understate that in the last five years it's been a photo polymer renaissance of just what has, night and day when you used to think about photo polymer printing, it looks pretty, very brittle. And now I've worked with several materials, several examples where the resins are engineered, some of them have secondary stage curing some of them, other dormant materials within them activate so the accolade will cure and then something else would go in and essentially replace it with better, longer term mechanical strength. A lot of items are much more UV stable for long term use. So it is just absolutely amazing. And not even mentioning the rubber elastomers and other resins that give you flexibility, I mean, it just didn't exist or didn't exist well. Everything felt like Fruit Roll-Ups for the longest time.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Yeah, I mean since launching the NX printers and even since launching the XiP, we've seen so many cool examples from customers of using these engineering grade materials for production parts, literally printing production parts. I think it's much beyond the prototyping that I think a lot of people have an assumption about 3D printing for.

Greg Paulsen:

Absolutely. I got one last question, let me double check to see if you have any more questions coming in here. But yeah, if anybody has any other questions, you got one last shot. Let me see here. All right, so yeah, my last question was it's actually about Xometry and just how to request those productions. And I think this is a really good question because our quoting engine has a lot of automations built into it. As soon as you start building a quote, you will find out who your direct sales point of contact is. So you usually get an email from one of our sales leads with an introduction. They're your sword and shield. So a lot of times when you're having a question, when you're trying to build up and say, hey, this is beyond just a prototype or this is a prototype now, but here's where we're going to want to go, that team member is going to be the first person to work with to build that relationship through.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Thanks, Joe.

Greg Paulsen:

Oh, okay. Sorry.

Kenyon Whetsell:

I said, "Thanks, Joe."

Greg Paulsen:

Oh, is Joe on? Oh yeah, Joe. Oh, Joe is your rep and absolutely by the way, I bugged Joe a lot before this webinar kind of debriefing too. Because they learn everything about the project. They're really build committed. Some other ways, if you are first time quoting, if you want to trigger that conversation, you can kind of cheat in our system, which is choosing custom on either material or finish will build an override to go to request manual quote. And that's where you can actually add in notes or add in your finish a specific need. So again, Eduardo, if you were talking about the cosmetic faces and this is your first experience with Xometry, the auto quote's good, but you want to make sure they really know, you could go into finishes, add a finish and talk about a cosmetic specific requirement. You could even in the notes field go and add that graphic, what I'm trying to achieve here and that'll actually go directly to our engineering team to solve that.

Eduardo Reveles:

Yeah, exactly. And yeah, I think we already mentioned Joe's name, but exactly like you said, there's a face behind everything that we go through on the Xometry website. So at the end of the day, we could only add so much detail on there and soon after we would get a call from Joe or we would bug Joe to make sure he understood exactly what we want to achieve.

Greg Paulsen:

Yeah, absolutely. And actually I got a couple more questions rolling in at the very last minute here, so thank you all for that. First off, a good call out Fruit Roll-Up elastomer, best description I've ever heard from photo elastomers ever. Thanks Paul. Yeah, I have the unique opportunity, like I said, we offer eight different technologies and we also vet a bunch of different technologies. I'm actually squeezing a photo polymer elastomer right now as we're talking. And yeah, I try to turn everything into layman terms and I've only handled, I don't know, 10,000 parts so it helps with that. And honestly I can't understate how much advancement there's been in photo polymers.

Yeah, so just a question about, someone's asking about more information, where can I start, starting from scratch? After this webinar we're going to send some more information out including some of the promotions and items so you get more information on the XiP and even the promotion for the [inaudible 00:57:48]. From Xometry side, we are chock full of resources. So if you go to xometry.com, you could click on our solutions and see every single process we offer has a page. And on those pages you could learn more about the process, the why's, the materials, and when to choose.

That's really important is we have choices, we represent the entire manufacturing industry, not just one thing or another. So we have a lot of strengths and trade offs as well on those pages. Also check out our design guides, we're chock full of free design guides available. So if you're designing for a specific process, you can actually find a specific guide on that at xometry.com's website. Yeah, let me see. And yeah, I think that is it. So any last words or fun facts, Eduardo or Kenyon?

Kenyon Whetsell:

Just thanks again for having us, Greg. Thanks everybody for being here. Appreciate listening to us about Nexa3D and the time today. Thanks.

Greg Paulsen:

Absolutely and thank you too, honestly, I mean, first off, for being fantastic customers of Xometry. Like I said, we live vicariously through your success and it's been a really, really exciting project that we're on and we're continue continuing to work with you as a production partner on and being able to share these stories. Whether you're an OEM doing your a production line of a desktop 3D printer, or you're starting off with your very first project, I think it's really important to show and demonstrate that changes happen, adaptations happen, iterations are a must, and there's a lot of tools available to help out, including tools from Xometry and maybe even a XiP printer. Thank you all again.

Kenyon Whetsell:

Oh, maybe one more fun fact, Greg. Really it's the engineering team who they identified Xometry early on. I got to thank the engineering team here for doing the hard work of developing the XiP, but also really making this partnership happen. So thanks for that.

Greg Paulsen:

Thank you all. All right, take care, ya'll. Thank you so much.

 

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Nathaniel Miller
Hi, I’m Nathan, and I’m the Marketing Content Writer for Xometry. I write and edit a lot of the content produced by Xometry. I’m also the lucky guy who gets to share the accomplishments of engineers working to change their industries and our lives.