The time has come to design and manufacture differently

Expert opinion

Michael INTROLIGATOR, Founder and CEO, United 3D Makers
Published on:
Updated on:


On Monday the 16th of March, France was placed under lockdown and placed in a state of health emergency due to the pandemic! After forty-eight hours of astonishment, a question arises: How will we, working in digital, new technologies, additive manufacturing, be able to help our country? What can we do to participate in the collective effort while being confined?

At the same time I came across an article from a 3D printer manufacturer in the Czech Republic who had modeled an anti-projection protection visor support to be printed in 3D. I test, I print in 3D and start to distribute the first visors to traders around me. We are less than a week after the lockdown, I post a first message on LinkedIn.

Following this first message, the Tourcoing University Hospital is asking us to have visors. On March the 25th we decided to use our platform to launch a call for projects to manufacture protective visors from our network of professional 3D printers. This is how we have produced and delivered more than 6,000 visors throughout France to hospitals, doctors, traders, nurses, charitable associations, etc.

United 3D Makers is a startup that offers companies the provision of a fleet of 3D printers and 3D design skills through its web platform. Our platform brings together professional 3D printers and 3D designers to work on corporate projects.

The lockdown, the cessation of freight, the increase in traditional production times, the shortage of protection, have highlighted our know-how, our responsiveness and shown what 3D printing can be used for. Our ability to act quickly by localizing production throughout the territory, extremely short production times and very short iterations (a few hours) on the prototyping of visors in order to adapt the frontal support and reduce production costs.

visuel blog de SprintProject visires hopitaux


This period allowed us to highlight our convictions.

United 3D Makers offers small and medium-sized economic players the opportunity to develop agile solutions simply and to be competitive.

We give momentum to 3D projects by accelerating time to market, democratizing prototyping and reducing manufacturing costs.

We defend issues rooted in our times, such as the reconciliation of industry and sustainable development.

We strongly believe in the relocation of small production in order to reduce our carbon footprint. A reduction which involves a reduction in distances and the negative impact of transport on long journeys.

Furthermore, the fight against waste of raw materials is a second priority that we encourage by favoring additive manufacturing processes.

We used a biosourced and biodegradable material to manufacture the visors, with a lower impact on the environment, PLA (based on corn starch).


This period has highlighted ambitions that we wish to develop in our territory.

Prototyping and experimentation: Reducing costs and deadlines. The elimination of costly tool manufacturing steps. Acceleration of development cycles and marketing. For the architecture and design sectors for example.

Industrialization of personalization: Increasing user comfort, seeking aesthetics. Reducing the cost of custom and/or personalized manufacturing. Reduction of intervention and downtime time. For the medical sector, glasses, shoes, jewelry...

Series production and performance gain: Optimization of the overall cost of the part, reduction of assemblies. The increase in the intrinsic performance of the part, including weight reduction with a direct impact on transport and fuel economy. For the manufacture of specific tools, marketing, communication, etc.

Evolution of the value chain: Management of obsolescence and ruptures. Reduced downtime of production and operating assets. Reduction of stocks and transport costs. Example of spare parts…


The first days of deconfinement were very strange for us, a kind of depression. Finally, we have never had as much work as during this sad lockdown event. With almost non-stop days from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week. Constant phone calls, hundreds of emails, numerous daily requests and suddenly, everything stopped practically overnight!

Then at the beginning of June, new projects began arriving, today we are ten times more in demand than before the lockdown period. And this in many different sectors of activity, such as events, model making, the production of tailor-made tools, the creation of connected and personalized objects, jewelry, etc.

We are also called upon for missions to support digital transformation, transfer of IS skills and integration of additive production methods.

To know more :

Read all the “Expert Opinion” articles on the SprintProject blog


Subscribe to the newsletter

Innovation, from reflection to implementation

You claim to have read our page privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time by using the unsubscribe links or by contacting us at

A question?
An opinion ?