Dixit Offers a Quick Onramp to the 3D Printing Business with Innovana3D

Cloud-based Innovana3D is a turnkey 3D printing front-end with instant quoting, viewer and e-commerce capabilities.

Anyone wishing to make money with their 3D printer after the heyday of 3D printing, when most personal desktop 3D printers were sold, was soon faced with the reality of running a manufacturing business. They expected to print the part, but they soon learned that they had to answer emails, estimate the cost of the part, and include a profit and deliver the quote. If the quote was accepted, they got to make the part but were likely interrupted by requests about its status. They had to ship the part and invoice for it. Finally, they had to record the transaction. That may be Small Business 101, but more often than not, it was more than they had signed up for. Personal attention to customers was a great challenge—especially if it was a side business.

The more tech-savvy entrepreneur may have attempted to cobble together a website that did most of the above business transactions. Thousands of WordPress sites offer e-commerce plug-ins with credit card gateways, alleviating some of the nonproductive chores of billing and the lags in payment, but good luck finding a viewer, a way to check that mesh models were watertight, add supports, check angles of overhang, and so on. Even if such plug-ins are to be found, you have to integrate them with the website. That takes testing, time.…

Even if you get past all this, you still have to manually estimate the cost of the build itself. You, with little experience, will resort to trial and error, quite possibly losing money in the process.

Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody did all that? A turnkey system made specifically for 3D printing that you could install on your website?

Enter Innvovana3D, a cloud-based 3D printing portal you can subscribe to (currently for free—more on that later) that checks off quite a few of the boxes. Except the one you signed up for: actually producing the part on your 3D printer.

The most impressive and most valuable of Innovana3D’s capabilities is instant quoting. Once a customer uploads a 3D model and selects the material and the finish, they immediately see how much it will cost to build it. If for some reason, they would like to generate a quote manually—let’s suppose they prefer to do this during regular business hours—the automatic quoting can be turned off.

The Hub That Wasn’t

Amsterdam-based 3D Hubs once aspired to create a cottage industry for 3D printing but has since gravitated toward using its own production facilities and farming out overflow to large 3D printing operations.

“That move by 3D Hubs basically killed our 3D printing service operations,” says Prasad Dixit of Dixit Systems.

What is an enterprising but small 3D printing service to do when faced with having to go it alone? If they happen to also be an enterprising software developer, as is Dixit, the obvious answer is to create your own 3D printing hub. Then, in a move that could be considered altruistic, making it available for fellow 3D print services.

The result, Innovana3D, looks slick and polished. Every bit of an e-commerce site specifically designed for manufacturing appears to be built in. There’s none of that pick-a-template and start adding plug-ins—one for online shopping, one for viewing 3D models (if you can find it) … a job, that if done properly, will take a lot of time and perhaps suck up all your entrepreneurial zeal, leaving you with a nonfunctioning website and an end to the dream of running your own 3D printing business.

Anyone with an idle 3D printer who is looking to launch a business with it should certainly look into Innovania3D. You can put your branding on it, leaving it with only a minor mention of “powered by Innovana3D.” And did we mention it was free?

Innovana3D currently is only usable for 3D printing, but Dixit plans on incorporating other manufacturing processes.

Innovana3D is officially only in beta mode and while in beta, a very capable version of it is available for free. The free version can handle up to 120 quotes per month. Dixit promises live support—something practically unheard of with free software. There is a “Starter” version available for $195 per month that can support “15 to 20 people.”

About Dixit Systems

Innovana3D is a product by Dixit Systems, formed by Prasad Dixit in 2016.

Dixit Systems is an engineering and design software company with headquarters in Queens, New York. It lists all the major CAD companies (Siemens, Autodesk and Dassault Syste╠Çmes) as customers except for one (PTC). Check out the company’s slick little unit conversion program called Enverter.

Prasad has an MSME from Stony Brook University and bachelor’s from Pune University, India. He has been developing software applications for more than 15 years and specializes in computational geometry and 3D CAD.