It is no secret that we use 3D printing in our business, and have been printing our original product designs on our own 3D printers. As we prepare to bring some of those products to market, we have been searching for a service company to expand our printing capacity as needed. In this WTFFF?! episode Tom and Tracy interview David Feeney, CEO and founder of SD3D, a service business that has gone from a garage startup in late 2012 to a legitimate short run production facility today.
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This interview is a great case study in what it takes to start a 3D print service business. David has experienced challenges along the way, optimizing the process of sending prints to one of the machines in the “farm,” and customizing the hardware of the machines to perform as needed in a production environment. As a mechanical engineer, David has even added more customized sensors to his printers to make them more reliable, and drive the failure rates down to percentages in the low single digits. SD3D has learned that they need to reduce the human labor in their processes in order to keep costs low, requiring one person to run and maintain as many as six machines.
One way service companies like SD3D can be competitive on costs is that they buy their raw materials like filament in bulk and pass that savings on to their customers.
SD3D has a very unique pricing model that is a combination of a membership fee, and a price per part based on volume. The membership fee offsets the cost of adding new machines to keep up with demand, and keeps the cost per part lower. If you do not have a need for regular or continuing production parts, you can pay a higher part cost and avoid the membership fee.
Shout out to Sandy DeWald, listener of the podcast, Tracy mentions you in this episode
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