Since 2014, Intermountain 3D has proudly served the Intermountain West region of the United States as a 3D printing service bureau and 3D Systems reseller. Founded by husband and wife team, Brian and Lynn Hoffmann, Intermountain 3D diligently researched all 3D printing technologies before committing to its flagship offerings. The firm later opted to expand its in-house capabilities, build out its service offerings and grow its customer pool.
Intermountain 3D opened its doors with 3D Systems’ Stereolithography (SLA), MultiJet Printing (MJP), 3D scanning and Geomagic software. After the company’s first year of business, CEO Lynn Hoffmann says a workflow pattern emerged. The company had helped many customers advance through prototyping, but their customers wanted more. “We realized the need for low- to mid-volume production if customers weren’t ready for injection molding but needed something more than prototyping,” says Lynn.
The service bureau experimented with different options, including urethane casting and silicone casting, but increasingly felt that it was most effective to print the required parts directly. Having created a network of reliable outside partners, Intermountain 3D increasingly began working with 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing to help serve its customers. “As a start-up company, it was a huge advantage to be able to lean on 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing service during periods of peak capacity,” says Lynn.
To continue to service the needs of its customers, Intermountain 3D, company president Brian Hoffmann performed another critical analysis to determine which SLS technology would best serve his business, looking both within and beyond 3D Systems. In the end, Intermountain 3D recommitted to 3D Systems and purchased the ProX® SLS 500. The impact was almost immediate and resulted in an increase in business. “The demand for SLS technology in our market continues to increase,” says Lynn.
With its new production capability, Intermountain 3D is able to more comprehensively serve its clients and has grown its customer base as well. “Our number of clients has grown, and interestingly, so has the length of time an average customer spends with us,” says Lynn.
Intermountain 3D’s customers represent a range of industries, including food processing, virtual reality equipment, human prosthetics, recreational technology, home and garden, research, and more. What they all share is a unique set of requirements for their products, which can create manufacturing challenges with traditional methods. The expansion of Intermountain 3D’s portfolio to include SLS technology has helped alleviate some of these challenges by expanding the material options available and making direct, 3D printed production possible.
“We are just at the edge of understanding what’s possible with SLS production,” says Lynn. “Our SLS machine, along with our other capabilities, allows us to offer our customers more options. Now, for products that need the strength of nylon our customers can prototype with us in either MJP or SLA and then move on to SLS for advanced tests or production.”
3D Systems’ ProX SLS printers are known for their ability to produce functional prototypes as well as end-use production parts. The printers are complemented by a portfolio of DuraForm® production-grade nylon materials that have been optimized, validated and tested to ensure quality, with uniform mechanical properties. The combination of 3D Systems’ ProX SLS printers and DuraForm materials enables Intermountain 3D to produce tough, durable parts more efficiently with an overall lower total cost of operation.
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