Whether working with a shop, a local supplier or a company you think operates out of the Southern Guangdong province, there’s always a need to find a reputable manufacturing team that can take on your high capacity runs or one-off chunks of production-ready prints. Usually, a search for such a shop takes you online, and every once in a while you find a site that makes you want to celebrate by consuming food from the rotating spindle of a high-speed power tool. RP Marketplace is new on the rapid prototyping scene, but for those keeping folders full of RP suppliers and cost, they’re that site to make supplier searching and part procuring loads faster.

More than Just Sourcing a 3D Print

RP Marketplace specializes in finding you a supplier for your rapid prototyping needs, but that goes way beyond 3D printing. Over 40 suppliers are currently available through the site with specialties that range from scanning and casting to molding and welding. Search RP suppliers and you’ll find filters for Material, Printer Type, Certification and more.

There are plenty of places to have your garden gnome printed online, but when it comes to professional sourcing of manufacturers, the options are seriously lacking. RP Marketplace aims to put an end to that. We caught up with Steven Jaffe, Founder of RP Marketplace to find out what makes them so different and the site so useful.

steven-jaffe-267What spurred on the idea for RP Marketplace?
RP Marketplace was created out of pure necessity. As entrepreneurs and engineers, the founders of RP Marketplace are a pretty resourceful group, however without knowledge of specific suppliers, technologies, and the best technique to execute prototyping of our designs, we had nowhere to go to source professional rapid prototyping services. Countless searches on Google revealed hundreds of companies online, but we were still unsure of who could be trusted and how to approach them. We created RP Marketplace as a solution for businesses of any size to not only source but also manage their projects, from researching the Supplier and funding the project, to rating the Supplier after they received their parts.

How is your service different from others?
RP Marketplace is unique in that we are not only built and designed specifically for facilitating B2B interactions, but we are also a transactional platform, utilizing a built-in escrow payment system to manage all payments between Buyers and Suppliers. With a complete set of project management tools at our users’ disposal, Buyers and Suppliers can share secure messages, CAD files, and documents, as well as manage and individually fund project milestones. Since our Buyers are businesses that have privacy as their main concern, we offer many features to allow Buyers to protect their IP, as well as the option to require Suppliers to digitally sign an NDA before they can access project files.

Do you work with suppliers around the world?
RP Marketplace is proud to exclusively work with US-based Suppliers. Using US Suppliers often leads to quicker delivery, and eliminates language and/or communication barriers. Many businesses also prefer to contract local Suppliers, and RP Marketplace currently has over 40 of the leading Suppliers across the US.

How can someone looking for bids on a part get started?
Posting a project on RP Marketplace is a very quick and easy process that is 100% free. There are no fees to join, no fees to post your project, and no fees even if you award your project to a Supplier. The only cost for a Buyer is the cost of the Project. To get started simply visit rpmarketplace.com, signup as a Buyer, click “Post Project” and you’re ready to go.

How do suppliers get started? Get paid?
While RP Marketplace already has over 40 of the leading Suppliers in the US on our platform, we’re always looking for additional Suppliers. We interview, validate and approve all Suppliers that apply, and only once approved can they view and bid on projects. Approved Suppliers who are setup on RP Marketplace are paid directly to their businesses bank accounts upon completing a Projects Milestone. This is a fully automated process handled by our integrated escrow payment system, protecting the Buyer and Supplier from start to finish.

What should people know about changes in manufacturing?
We feel one of the biggest changes in manufacturing is the transition toward using additive manufacturing and traditional rapid prototyping techniques to produce production tooling, production parts, and fully functioning prototypes that can be tested as if they were a final product. While it might still be called “rapid prototyping”, it is and will increasingly become a process that is producing end-use products. This is what excites us and what RP Marketplace helps businesses of all shapes and sizes achieve through a simpler outsourcing experience. With RP Marketplace, Buyers can use our platform to securely access and confidently utilize all the amazing talent and technology our Suppliers have to offer.



Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.