UXPA – 3D Printing and Complex Quoting

Though the event was devoted to a certain usability topic, the “show” was definitely stolen by the concept of 3D printing.  Fascinating!

3D printing is actually “additive manufacturing” compared to “subtractive manufacturing” that is used conventionally.


The services that RedEye provides appeared as a response to a market need that has been discovered accidentally.

redeyeStratasys, a seller of 3D printers, was providing samples of customer’s parts before the printer was purchased.  The company discovered that they received requests for not one part to test the equipment, but several.  stratasysRecognizing that the company was expected to provide free product, the practice was stopped… but the requester offered to pay for the needed parts.  Somebody produced a quote…  and soon management was faced with positive revenue produced from the unexpected source.  The service was born.

3d3D printing is beneficial in a situation when a limited number of complex parts are needed.  Creation a mold for manufacturing these parts would not be economical – the mold will be used only for a few parts.  3D printing solves this problem.

RedEye is specializing on b-to-b space; it is not a consumer market.  However, as the technology became more available after patent protection time expired, it also expanded in consumer applications.

Is is a rapidly changing industry?  The answer is quite interesting: the technology exists and is not changing itself – at least not changing as fast.  However, the application of the technology to different industries and needs is rapidly increasing.  The expectations of the technology are also changing fast.

sd-2The target audience of the company is also changing.  First, it was the engineer who understood the technology, or was relatively prepared to research and study its capabilities.  Now, the target audience is often an executive who is not an engineer and needs to understand what the technology can do for the company he or she represents.

The process (particularly from the engineer’s point of view) is

  1. understand the technology
  2. design for the technology
  3. request a quote

The company has an instant quoting online application currently, which will be redesigned soon with application of latest knowledge of UX.