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Gary Kenney
Why Bounding-Box Formula for 3D Printing isn’t Enough

Today, most OEMs and Tier 1 Service Bureaus spend too much time quoting and costing additively produced parts with comprehensive spreadsheets or simple napkin calculations with the bounding box formula. It’s no wonder why after Link3D surveyed over 238 organizations, we’ve found that it takes on average 1 to 8 hours (sometimes, up to 40 hours) to process and generate a quote for external customers or internal engineers for production sign-off. 

New Solutions in the Market

As of recent, numerous e-commerce auto-quoting “bounding box” cost calculator tools have emerged - thanks to the digital age. However, these auto-quoting solutions don’t meet the complex day-to-day cost calculations of industrial metal and polymer 3D Printing. They are great for hobbyist 3D printing businesses. 

The pitfalls of the bounding box formula include: overestimating material inventory and costs, inability to introduce downstream manufacturing costs, forecast production lead time - and more.

Our View of an Ideal Solution

After working with multiple OEMs and Tier 1 Service Bureaus, we realized organizations need a robust build simulation software to power their costing and quoting strategies. 

Link3D Auto-Quoting System: Stratasys Fortus 400mc

Build simulation will take into account the part orientation strategy, nest and slice the part based on various factors, including but not limited to:

  • Material and machine parameters (custom vs. standard)
  • Material usage and wastage (with or without support structures)
  • Order quantity, build time and number of runs for completing the order
  • Downstream manufacturing costs: post-processing costs
  • Other administrative costs: labor, machine operator and machine depreciation costs
  • Material properties, including: viscosity, specific gravity, etc.

Who do we need to empower?

Project managers, supply chain managers, application engineers and facility managers often have to help the company make the best decision as to whether they should MAKE or BUY. Whether to MAKE it with additive manufacturing technology or other manufacturing processes – or BUY from service bureau partners. 

As OEMs and Tier 1 Service Bureaus scale out their internal and external additive manufacturing facility network, purchase more machines, introduce new materials, develop new parameters - it is difficult for a bounding box formula or comprehensive spreadsheet to keep up with the speed of AM development.