Last week, we had a dilemma. We were busy. Our machines were busy. While these are good problems to have, it seems too often to be the norm. And we needed to run a batch of first-run-beta units. We machined the initial prototypes in-house, made necessary design changes, and were anxious to ship test units. Holding off until shop work quieted down meant delaying the project. Calling shops to outsource the parts would create more work and stress. So we tried a new option: Xometry.
What does Xometry do? In simple terms: upload your CAD model and Xometry quotes the job. Instantly. For free. Proceed with the job and Xometry matches your job with a partner machine shop. But Xometry’s value goes beyond the role of matchmaker. Xometry redefines how you can source parts, scale your business, and lessen the time and stress of managing vendor relations. Xometry’s in-house engineering team, their manufacturing know-how, and their machine learning algorithms act a force multiplier for 21st century manufacturing entrepreneurs.
We prefer video here at NYC CNC, so here’s a summary of our experience submitting our first batch of parts to Xometry:
Seven reasons to add Xometry to your toolbox:
- Xometry has built a network of over 500 machine shops. When you submit a solid model to their website, you get a near-instant pricing quote. Xometry then uses its intelligent ranking system to match the type of part with machine shops that have completed parts of similar shape, characteristics or complexities in the past. In other words, they figure out what type of parts are a good fit for what shops – and that’s proven through past work! That’s cool.
- Hang up the phone. No more asking friends for recommendations “for a good 5 axis shop”, sending unanswered RFQ emails, or nagging a vendor for an ETA. The time and stress can crush the entrepreneurial spirit.
- Entrepreneurial success relies on your ability to take an idea and execute on that idea by building your Team and Resources. Consider Xometry one of your Resources. Xometry may not be your only source for machined parts – perhaps you have in-house equipment, or good existing relationships with other shops. Leverage Xometry when you’re over-capacity, or want to send out an anonymous prototype to get a quick test part machined and stay under-the-radar on a new prototype.
- If manufacturing isn’t your forte, but you need parts made, Xometry’s in-house engineering, their manufacturing background and their various website and PDF resources are priceless. Take a look at https://www.xometry.com/manufacturing-standards. When pursuing my first entrepreneurial endeavor, I did not speak the language of machining (or 3D printing, or EDM or sheet metal). I did not know what a “thousandth” of an inch was. The ability to find CAD and engineering talent (see our article on Upwork.com) then source parts through Xometry is a powerful recipe for a manufacturing entrepreneur.
- Instant Pricing: iterate your design-for-manufacturing process by leveraging Xometry’s instant (and free) quoting process. It’s not perfect (and you can request a manual quote review, but we found their pricing competitive when quoting at quantities high enough to bake in the setup and programming costs.
- Xometry isn’t pretending to be machinists. Xometry’s value proposition to machine shops is to let a machine shop do what they are good at: programming parts and running machines. Xometry helps fill the skill-gap so often missing in machine shops: marketing, sourcing work, and maintaining customer-facing processes. Like we talk about in our Lean Organization video, we enjoy working for “the process” – even if we are the boss. Xometry gives machine shops a platform to maximize odds of success – whether checkpoints on ordering material or guidelines on packing parts.
- Fail fast, fail cheap. When you have an idea: get it designed, get it made, and get it tested! And do so with as little money and time as possible! For bootstrapping entrepreneurs, cash is precious; machining or 3D printing in-house may be the best path. But for many entrepreneurs, time is the limiting factor. Xometry handles this process for you, requiring only minutes to upload a CAD model and place an order. For those that have read the E-Myth revisited, think of Xometry as a well to keep you focusing on being the Entrepreneur and Manager, not perpetually trapped in the technician role. We’ve now implemented this strategy for both machined parts and 3D printed parts where we’ll rapid design an idea, send it out for manufacturing and then a few days later, we have a functional, tangible part in our hand with minimal distraction.