Choosing the right 3D printing service provider

People ask all the time, “What do you do for a living?” My response is, “I’m a partner at Re3dTech, a 3D printing service provider.” I often get a puzzled look and then, “That sounds cool but what do you do? Do you sell 3D printers? How does 3D printing work and are the parts functional?”

Let’s stick to the basics of what is a 3D printing service provider. 3D printing also goes by the name additive manufacturing(AM). It’s called AM because it starts from nothing and builds layer by layer. Most other manufacturing is subtractive where it starts from a block of something and material is removed. A 3D printing/AM service provider is a job shop, contract manufacturer of 3D printed parts. We provide parts for individuals, design shops, and companies that outsource their additive needs. We have 3D printers in-house and produce parts for customers that don’t have the expertise and equipment themselves.

AM is one of the fastest growing segments in US manufacturing. The Wohlers Report, which is considered the preeminent source for all things additive, predict sales for additive equipment and services to hit $15.8 billion in 2020. Projections then go to $23.9 billion in 2022 and $35.6 billion in 2024. The services sector for additive manufacturing is the fastest growing segment.

With all this going on how do you pick the right service provider to best meet your needs? Let’s just say that is a loaded question and the explanation probably can’t be summed up quickly but I’ll do my best to help.

Are you looking for plastic/polymer, metal, or both? 49% of service providers offer only polymer. 28% offer both plastic and metal. 23% offer metal only. There are a few very large 3D printing service providers that cover the widest range of materials and technologies. Stratasys Direct, 3D Systems Quickparts, and Protolabs are the biggest in the market. They are very good at what they do but biggest doesn’t always mean the best.

HP MJF Parts printed on the 580 full color

So, how do you pick the right Service Provider? Quality, tight tolerances, competitive pricing, and high volume output of 3D printed parts are all factors that should impact your decision. Is the service provider offering parts from the most cutting edge technologies like Carbon, Markforged, and HP? Equally important is the knowledge, expertise, and willingness to partner with you to provide the consultation and know-how to build a great part. Smaller firms can sometimes offer a more personalized service and attention to your account. Call the company, does the phone get answered? Personal dialogue is often the linchpin necessary during the prototype stage. With a little due diligence, you can easily find the right fit for your company when it comes to outsourcing your 3D printed parts. 

Let’s print some amazing parts together.

Russell Beck





My partner and I approached David at Re3dtech with our project and were greeted with kind and caring service. Throughout the last couple of months we have placed several orders in varying size and were even able to sit down with David and the owner to discuss our needs as a small business. Through this sit down we saw their passion for assisting both small and large clients in achieving their goals. We even had a hiccup with a batch of prints that was immediately addressed and remedied with precision and care. I almost don't want to recommend these guys because I feel like I have stumbled upon a hidden gem in 3D printing services and selfishly want to keep it to myself. Jokes aside we will be continuing our business relationship with the folks there and look forward to growing our order quantities and business with their help.
Re3DTech was instrumental in helping us get our product, Stroba™, to market faster! We needed a technology that could do snap fits and looks and feels as close the injection molded part as possible, and Re3D Tech was there for us. We used SOLIDWORKS Make to get in touch originally, upload models directly, and sign an NDA directly with their excellent team. It was really simple and easy to use their quoting tool as well. Excellent prices, excellent lead times, and superior quality are perfect words to describe our experience with Re3DTech. We went through many prototypes for Stroba™, and we at Goodfriend Innovations™ use Re3DTech for our other rapid prototyping jobs to help get our additional productions out to market faster than the competition. 5 Stars
I provided RE3DTECH three laser scanned ".stl" files for 3-D printing of prototypes. I used their on-line quote and file delivery process. The file acceptance and resultant quote were returned quickly. The parts were received at the quoted time. The parts are quite complex with many holes, angles, curvatures and notches. Each of the parts came out identical to the scanned parts dimensionally and passed the form/fit/function test in the upper level assembly. RE3DTECH has a high quality business process and produces high quality products. I will use them for future prototyping projects and recommend RE3DTECH.
Re3dtech is one of the most honest and reputable companies we have done business with. We decided to look into options for getting parts made in the USA for the retail market. It was awesome to find a local company with humble staff looking to provide their services meeting our criteria, not to mention meeting the Re3tech crew face to face and checking out their operation. Peter was very honest, knowledgable about design. Peter's creative element made working with him a great pleasure. Jim's flexibility was a breath of fresh air and greatly appreciated. CentralSound is proud to scratch the surface with Made in the USA parts in the retail market now, thanks to Re3dtech. Hope to do more business with them in the future.
Re3dtech has consistently delivered the best service I have ever received in the industry. Their response time is unmatched and they always stand by their parts and quality. They regularly make me look like an all star at my job.
It is always a pleasure to have a vendor that provides quality, experience, and always shows as much care for your order, and your product as you do!