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From Engineer to Engineer: Five Developments I'm Excited About at Xometry

As an engineer with extensive manufacturing experience, I am most excited about these five new things happening at Xometry

Greg Paulsen - Xometry Contributor
By Greg Paulsen
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I have worked in advanced manufacturing for fourteen years and have had experiences ranging from applied additive manufacturing to molding, casting, machining, and more. Xometry has proven again and again to be a leader in these services, and building our manufacturing marketplace has allowed us to continually expand our offerings. As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, I wanted to share some things that I am excited about here as an engineering professional.

Xometry helps bridge the gap between design and production by providing instant quoting and feedback on over a dozen manufacturing processes. These quotes are actionable, allowing you to specify what you need and buy without a back-and-forth conversation. A lot of what makes Xometry great for engineers is the access and resources it provides. Check out this list below.

1. Vapor smoothing 3D prints

Chemical vapor smoothing can take a 3D printed part to the next level by smoothing and sealing surfaces. For HP MJF and SLS, that means the typical sugar-cube finish now looks more like a molded part. Vapor smoothing even enhances mechanical properties and reduces moisture absorption. Because it seals the surface, it can significantly help in high-touch, medical, and food applications.

Vapor smoothing is at the top of my list because it is an affordable way to produce end-use parts that your clients will love without costly tooling. I also find that vapor smooth and dyed black parts look and present better than even some of our black SLA or PolyJet options. Check out the gif below of vapor-smoothed TPU 88A through HP MJF!

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  • TPU Flex plastic part showing flexibility and bendability

Want to take a deep dive into vapor smoothing? Watch our webinar.

2. More metal 3D printing through binder jetting

Like vapor-smoothed parts, I am always interested in 3D printing processes to prototype and produce using the same material. On certain parts, this can save on tooling costs and remove a design step when scaling production. Metal 3D printing is no exception. To complement our DMLS services, we have also added metal binder jetting to our portfolio, producing highly durable parts economically on demand.

Binder jetting does not require support structures in the traditional sense, and this allows for freeform designs or all-in-one metal assemblies. It also makes the process economical compared to other metal manufacturing methods since it bulk produces parts simultaneously.  Xometry’s binder jetting services provide more options to get metal parts.

Check out our recent webinar with ExOne on metal binder jetting.

3. Easy urethane quoting

Urethane casting is an underrated process to make highly durable, presentable, and functional parts in lower volumes. It serves as a bridge between 3D printing and injection molding, or sometimes it just makes sense as a final production method for purpose-designed products ranging from ~5-50 units.

We updated urethane casting on the Xometry Instant Quoting Engine℠ to allow you to quote in easily translatable terms, reducing detective work on figuring out the suitable materials and finish for the project. The materials are categorized into general terms, like “Polycarbonate-Like” or “Rigid Clear,” helping you select the right material upfront. Finishes are now clear and explicit, using standard painting terms like matte/frosted, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. With standard and economy options instantly quoting, you can get urethane pricing quickly to make a purchasing decision.

4. Capabilities page updates

Nobody knows a dozen manufacturing technologies back and forth, so Xometry’s online content is focused on making better decisions on what process to choose and why. Whether it is 3D printing versus CNC machining or just figure out what is available, we have you covered.

Xometry’s capabilities pages, housed in a drop-down on our home page, are fantastic portals to dive deep into different processes. On each page, you will find a detailed process overview, some benefits, material information, tolerances, and a link to our free design guides. They are the first place I go when comparing materials in a process or looking for design inspirations.

5. All the CAD Add-Ins

You can always get a quote through Xometry via a web browser, but did you know that we have free add-ins for some of the most popular CAD platforms available? Xometry offers free CAD add-ins for SOLIDWORKS, Autodesk Inventor, and Fusion 360.

What is an add-in? It is a tool that installs into your CAD platform to access Xometry’s instant quoting capabilities and more. Add-ins help you generate quotes without jumping to a browser, get design feedback, and check prices while in the design phase. They are super handy and allow you to prototype your price, as well as your product.

What’s next?

Xometry is always building out more capabilities, options and expanding our supplier base to stay at the forefront of manufacturing. We are excited about the projects that drive our customers to success and are there to help along the way. Whether expanding our materials, adding new processes, updating our user experience, or creating brand new business opportunities, we constantly explore the next ventures. What services excite you? Do you have a wish list of your own? Let us know!

Greg Paulsen - Xometry Contributor
Greg Paulsen
They call me the Director of Application Engineering at Xometry. This means I not only get to produce great design-for-manufacturing content, but also consult on a variety of custom manufacturing projects using CNC machining, additive manufacturing, sheet metal, urethane casting, and injection molding. If you have a question, I'm your guy.