Welcome back to 3D From Nothing, powered by Metalmite! Today, we have a really special guest. I’m excited to introduce Greg Paulson from Xometry, who’s here to talk about all things manufacturing on demand.
But before we get started, in case you’re new around here, let me introduce myself. I’m Tom Gendich, CEO of Metalmite, a full-service machine shop that specializes in five and six axis CNC machining, CNC grinding, wire EDM, and 3D printing.
We have a 50-plus year history, and the corporation was started by my father, Michael Gendich III. I took over as CEO in 2009, and I’m continuing the manufacturing legacy today as a third-generation owner.
The name 3D From Nothing comes from my father, who always said that someday, we would make parts out of nothing. And that’s exactly what we’re doing today with the help of 3D printing and additive technology.
On 3D From Nothing, you’ll learn what kinds of printers are out there, what kinds of materials you can print on, who’s using these printers, and what kinds of things you should be looking at printing. Beyond that, you’ll be hearing from experts in the field through interviews just like this one! Without further ado, let’s get into the discussion surrounding manufacturing on demand!
What is Xometry?
Tom: If you’re unfamiliar, Xometry is a company specializing in manufacturing on demand that offers a range of solutions to help you develop effective prototypes and scale up your production parts. You can make custom parts on demand using over 70 materials and 15 processes.
They have a network of over 5,000 highly vetted manufacturers and skilled applications engineers to help you with manufacturing on demand—in fact, Greg and I got a chance to meet not too long ago, and Metalmite actually became one of these highly vetted manufacturers for Xometry! Today, we’re going to chat a bit more about what Xometry does, as well as Greg’s history with the company.
Greg: Hey, happy to be here! So, the deal with Xometry: we were founded in late 2013, and we really started making parts early 2014. I actually was an early hire. I joined on when the entire company could sit comfortably with space between us at a small conference table, and now we’ve reached over 400 employees!
Over the past seven years, we’ve grown significantly, both in staff and in production. We’ve added more technologies and more processes. We’re a distributed manufacturing platform, so we distribute to vetted suppliers across the nation and the globe. It’s been quite the ride.
I like to say that we don’t have competitors. We have potential suppliers. That’s the power of a marketplace, right? We’re here to raise awareness, to get work and give work. We’re coming at this both from the customer side and from the supplier side. We’re trying to float both boats at the same time.
The reason we look at it this way is because, for example, you’re a supplier, right? You have plenty of fantastic capabilities in your shop at Metalmite. But let’s say all of a sudden you have a customer that comes in and says, “Hey, I actually need this specific element.” And you can do so many things, but for that particular piece that they want, you need to source out. That’s why we work with manufacturers. Collaboration benefits everyone.
What Xometry Does
Greg: One thing Xometry does with manufacturing on demand that sets us apart is our ability to provide you with a quote rapidly. The way it works goes like this: you upload a 3D model, and we actually interpret that using something called computational geometry. We use machine learning, which means we use a type of AI that looks at the model and does a couple things instantaneously. First off, based off of the geometry of this part, it tries to help guide you through choosing what kind of part it is. Maybe it’s a CNC part or the selective laser center 3D part, or whatever it happens to be.
So first, it helps you choose that. And then it’ll also provide pricing and lead time, which is huge. It gives you your price and your lead time, and you no longer have to sit there waiting for different shops to get back to you on what your part might cost or how long it might take. This is the crux of manufacturing on demand to me; “on demand” gives the impression of rapid-fire service, right? With Xometry, you just upload your part and you get instant pricing. That’s actionable. When you press “Buy,” that’s when our marketplace kicks into action. So for the Xometry customer, manufacturing on demand is almost an Amazon-paced process.
From a supplier standpoint, our supplier marketplace essentially has a job board. It’s almost like an Uber experience where you can log in and look to see if there are any gigs that, for instance, fit Metalmite super well. You’re able to take a look at that and see what you’ll get paid for it and when it’s due, which means you’re able to look at those specs and say, “You know what? I’ve got capacity for that.”
It offers opportunities to suppliers they might not be able to connect with otherwise. You may not ever have been able to get connected with that customer’s needs, whether because of location or reach or what have you. So for the suppliers, we’re almost like a manufacturing on demand storefront, and we’re trying to direct work that’s relevant to you to a place where you can access it.
Instant Quotes for Manufacturing on Demand
Tom: So, once somebody makes their way to Xometry.com to look into manufacturing on demand, the first thing you see is this term that really caught my attention. Like you said, the website says get instant quotes. So you don’t just get a quote—everybody’s website says “Get a quote!”—but with Xometry, you get an instant quote.
So I actually did it, as a consumer that had a couple of files. I popped it on there and I have to say, it really was pretty instant. I had my doubts, but by the time I uploaded it and double-checked that I had selected the right material, there was my checkout price in the bottom right corner. I think it even included shipping.
I ordered it, and I’m happy to say I received it in great condition. I got my instant quote and my almost-instant part in my hand a couple of days later. So I was pretty excited to experience the speed of manufacturing on demand and the accuracy of how it came out.
Tom: One of the things I saw throughout this process was the incredible variety offered by Xometry. Not just in the products you can order, but with the repertoire of finishing options available. I don’t know if you can speak to this, Greg, but one of the things I saw on there (since I’m also a supplier now) was that one of the bids on the site was an aluminum dashboard. It looked like a cool, modern-day electric car dashboard. And underneath it, it said the finishing would be a brushed metal finish and silkscreen. How are you guys able to do all these extra finishes with manufacturing on demand? I rarely see silkscreen listed as an option.
Greg: Well, this is the power of distributed manufacturing. Every shop has their capabilities and sweet spots. A lot of times, finishing is a secondary thing, so finishing still has more of a local vibe. You’re often working as a manufacturing supplier going out to your finishing shop and having a finished work done.
If we’re talking about silkscreens, that can be an option. A silkscreen is essentially something you usually use for printing t-shirts, but it can be used for parts, too. It’s perfect for labeling a connector panel or throwing on logos or different themes. And we have that option because we’re connected to thousands of resources.
A Cut Above the Rest: Improved Prototypes
Tom: So in a prototype world, instead of some rough prototype that sort of looks like the finished product, this is an actual finished product. This may be on a control panel or on a finished vehicle, and that came at that price. I was instantly quoted from Xometry. So that’s kind of a new deal.
Greg: Right. And you can just order one if one is all you need. The interesting thing about digital and direct manufacturing now is that it’s no longer a process of working with power brokers who have minimum quantities. You as a customer have more leverage by having a distributed platform. And again, you’re not choosing from these unique lists. We’re going to have some tools that help you find your favorites in the future with our supplier marketplace, but this just allows you to say, “This is what I need. This is my spec. Can I get my parts to spec?” And we take care of that whole supply chain.
Get a Quote from Xometry Today!
Tom: This has been an awesome conversation, Greg. We learned a lot. Thanks for coming on!
Greg: I love the feedback! If there’s anything that I can answer more for your listeners or readers, I’m more than happy to. Again, my name is Greg Paulson. You can always connect with us on LinkedIn or check us out at Xometry.com!
Listen to 3D From Nothing
To hear my full discussion with Greg, listen to the 3D From Nothing podcast on your favorite streaming platform now!
Xometry – Manufacturing on Demand
From Prototyping to Production: Xometry offers a range of solutions to help you develop effective prototypes and scale up to production parts. Make custom parts through manufacturing on demand using over 60 materials and 15 processes. Put their network of over 5,000 highly vetted manufacturers and their skilled applications engineering team to work for you!
Get Instant Quotes
Get quotes within seconds on CNC machining, 3D printing, sheet metal fabrication, urethane casting, and more. Upload a 3D CAD file and receive the price, lead time, and design-for-manufacturing feedback instantly.
CNC Machining and Injection Molding
Xometry Helps American Manufacturers Better Manage Cash Flow Through Launch of Xometry Pay Invoicing Platform
Enables manufacturers to easily provide payment terms to customers, accept credit cards, and receive job advances
Xometry, the largest U.S. marketplace for custom manufacturing on demand, today released Xometry Pay, its new suite of payment products that allows machine shops and custom manufacturers to quickly accept credit cards and offer payment terms for their customers, backed by Xometry. This product is now available to manufacturers currently in Xometry’s network as well as the broader manufacturing community…Xometry is now the destination for small manufacturers to improve their business efficiency. Whether you choose to accept jobs through our platform or on your own, Xometry will manage collection and offer predictable payment terms to you and your customers.”
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