When Should Makers Use Manufacturing On Demand?

Digital Fabrication Maker News
When Should Makers Use Manufacturing On Demand?

Danielle O’Hallisey, a guitarist with a product idea but no means of manufacturing, used Xometry’s 3D printing service to create novel guitar picks based on hand-carved designs. For 50 years, she had been frustrated with her guitar picks. “I’m almost 60 years old now, and I started having this problem with my grip,” she said. “I realized I didn’t have as sensitive a sense of touch in my right hand, so when I was picking, I was gripping the pick really hard. I would put down the pick and find my hand cramping up.” So O’Hallisey decided to 3D model her picks. “I designed the picks based on the geometry of picks made out of antler that I got from Africa. Printing them in Ultem (a high-performance thermoplastic) gave me that warm, buttery tone that I’ve loved in picks made by several different companies.” The picks O’Hallisey designed featured a wider head with spongy silicone material that makes them easier to grip.

So why did a maker like Danielle choose Xometry? For many projects, makers can make what’s needed on a home 3D printer or in a makerspace. But for projects that require new materials, broader capabilities, or more scale to produce something for sale, Xometry can be a great fit. Companies like Xometry enable everyone, even the most space-constrained makers, to have CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, plastic injection molding, and multiple 3D printing processes to make plastic and metal parts. Without typical minimum order requirements needed by large manufacturers, manufacturing as a service (MaaS) platforms like Xometry help makers and hobbyists — as well as professional engineers — hit specific needs such as material, geometry, or performance.

examples of 3D printing from Xometry

​​These days, O’Hallisey runs a robust machine and mechanical design consultancy. Clients often approach her to design new products or modify already existing ones, and she sometimes acts as the go-between who helps these clients manufacture prototypes and parts. That’s how she came across Xometry; she was looking for a 3D printing service to 3D print a prototype for a client. “I’ve been pleased with the quality and cost,” she said. “It hits a sweet spot. It’s a fast turnaround and the cost is really good. I have at least five other companies I’ve worked for that are now getting parts through Xometry. People I’ve worked for in the past will contact me and say, ‘Hey, can you recommend someone?’ And I’ve been happy to recommend Xometry to them.”

Representing many manufacturing technologies, Xometry has free resources to help makers understand design best practices for their products. Xometry’s website includes robust capabilities pages, like the one for HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing, or design and technical guides for each process. These guides and resources can also help makers achieve better results with the equipment they may be running. MaaS platforms like Xometry give makers and startups affordable manufacturing options, helping accelerate their creations from ideas to realities.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!