Squirrel!

Recently I was contacted by a large, nationwide company about my 3D printer. They wanted to know how much it would cost to rent it and have it shipped to a conference they were hosting. The topic was to be about 3D printers and they wanted to show one in action.

For our initial meeting, I brought the 3D printer and some samples with me. The vice president giving the speech at the conference was impressed with the machine, but determined that it would be too costly to ship it safely and to have to train someone to use it. However, they decided to commission me to produce a series of 3D models. I spent the next week creating specific samples for them.

The following week I returned and showed them what I created. They decided on one, but wanted a change. I told them the price it would cost and how long it would take to build. They were okay with my quote and told me to come back one more time with the adjustments.

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One week later I came back with a couple more samples, this time they wanted it larger! Fortunately for me, I had downloaded updated software for the printer which provided more accurate information about how much plastic it would use and how long it would take. I found out I had been undercharging based on the previous quote, so with the changes they wanted I was able to readjust my quote. They were agreeable to the quote and had me start production.

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I spent the next four or so weeks printing 70 copies of the model (it took 4 ½ hours for each one!) and was able to reach the goal we had agreed to. Although, about half-way through production they asked if I could produce about 20 more than the original order. I would have been glad to, but they would either have to accept a later delivery time or a smaller model. Since neither was possible for what they wanted, they agreed to stick to the original terms. If I had not been firm about the physical limitations of the printer and agreed to a change in production, this kind of scope creep could have damaged the relationship I created with the company.

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(Damaged goods, resulting from printer mistakes)

I got word about a week after the conference that everything went well and they might want to order more in the future.

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