Here is an excerpt from the Portland Business Journal article that appeared last week:
It wasn't long after Renee Eaton was introduced to 3D printing technology that she saw a business opportunity. Why not purchase 3D printing equipment and then add those services to her company’s offerings? As Easton saw it, owning the high-end equipment would allow RapidMade to provide local, sustainable and innovative manufacturing capabilities to small companies and individuals who couldn’t afford them otherwise. And so, RapidMade’s innovative business model was born. Here’s some more detail about RapidMade from Eaton herself.
How would you describe your business model? Unlike traditional manufacturers and online 3D printing service bureaus, our complete range of 3D technologies, combined with our in-house design/engineering, and personal service, deliver targeted, effective results ... that help clients create new products, accelerate development, improve quality and lower costs.
What’s unique about the manufacturing process? Unlike traditional manufacturing, where an object is made by taking a material and cutting it away to create the piece (subtractive manufacturing), digital fabrication builds it, layer by layer, as directed by a CAD file. This process is ideal for items made from expensive materials like titanium, customized and complex designs — that often cannot be machined traditionally — or assemblies which can be eliminated because the component is printed in one piece. And the lead times required to produce prototypes, parts, molds, patterns and tools are reduced to days from weeks.
What differentiates your company in the marketplace? RapidMade uses these advanced technologies as a means to an end. If a client comes to us, and we believe 3D printing (additive manufacturing) isn’t the best solution for him or her, we always say so. And if it isn’t, we can still provide traditional manufacturing alternatives. Another distinction is our in-house engineering staff whose experience enables them to design and create prints to maximize the effectiveness of this technology. Unlike many service bureaus that simply print what they get, we evaluate clients’ files to ensure they get what they want, not just what they upload to us.
Who uses your service? Although we get the occasional enthusiast, RapidMade works almost exclusively with businesses and entrepreneurs. We are very proud to have worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies as well as small- and medium-sized firms on some very novel projects. Our work tends to focus on 3D scanning and reverse engineering, product development, low-volume production (replacement and finished parts as well as tooling, patterns and molds), architectural, artistic and sales models and customized figurines and promotional items.
Suzanne Stevens is Editor of the Portland Business Journal, overseeing the newsroom and guiding all news operations.