Trying Out Xometry‘s Updated Instant Quoting Engine
Isaac Maw posted on June 27, 2018 |
Enhancements include a redesigned summary view, part-level modification page and always-visible 3D v...

Xometry​, the on-demand manufacturing platform, has released an updated version of its Instant Quoting Engine. Key features include a redesigned summary view intended to help users quickly review their quotes, a part-level modification page designed to capture all changes in real time, and an always-visible 3D viewer that can offer instant design feedback and display it directly on the model. Xometry provides instant quotes on CNC Machining, Sheet Metal Fabrication, 3D Printing, and Urethane Casting.

Putting Xometry to the Test

To test out the service, I uploaded two STL files for brackets, which I found on Thingiverse. It’s doubtful that these two parts were designed by a professional, but the quote engine should give manufacturability feedback if anything is awry. On the Xometry webpage, I entered my email and telephone number, uploaded my files, and was presented with this screen:

Xometry's Instant Quote Engine Redesigned Summary View.
Xometry's Instant Quote Engine Redesigned Summary View.

As you can see, this page shows the estimated lead time, the total price, the dimensions of each of my parts, the quantity, process, material and finish. I clicked ‘modify part’ on the first part to try out the design feedback and part specifications updates.

I was hoping to see some design for manufacturability feedback, but according to the engine, the part I uploaded passed the test.  I tried selecting CNC machining instead of an additive manufacturing process, but the engine does not accept mesh file formats for CNC or sheet metal processes. A .STEP, .SLDPRT, .X_B, .X_T, .3DML, .CATPART, .PRT, or .SAT file is required for an instant quote for CNC or sheet metal forming.

Instead, I selected direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) in stainless steel. I also saw options for aluminum AlSiMg alloy and stainless 17-4. With the polymer-based 3D printing processes, namely FDM, SLS and Polyjet, various polymers were available, including ABS, nylons and urethanes. Of course, a laser-sintered stainless-steel part is much more expensive than a Nylon-12 part. However, the price per part goes down as you increase the order quantity. One of my steel brackets cost almost $250, but with an order of 10, the price per part dropped to just under $150. 

Of course, it’s extremely unlikely someone would choose 3D printing for anything more than a prototype of such a simple part. The next step would be to upload a different file format for the part and get the quote for sheet metal fabrication. Even with that extra step, it seems like this type of online instant quote application could be less hassle than dealing with someone over the phone or in person.

For more information about on-demand manufacturing, check out the feature article Why On-Demand Could Be the Future of Manufacturing.

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