Three topics appear crucial to reduce the cost of your prototype:

  • Keep as much as possible standard parts in your design
  • Optimize your design
    • Choose the right Materials
    • Reduce Size and Volume of materials
    • If you 3D Print, lattice as much as possible
  • Calculate regularly the cost during the conception phases and compare several manufacturing partners

SOLIDWORKS launched on February 2020, three interesting new free features to improve what we call the ‘Design to cost’. You can find those features in a unique add-in 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace inside SOLIDWORKS, and you access simply with your SOLIDWORKS ID 1

Keep as much as possible standard parts in your design



Using standard parts will always be much cheaper than manufacturing your custom components. 3DEXPERIENCE PartSupply is a library of 40 million sourceable standard parts from more than 800 different suppliers. You can navigate into various categories, classified eCl@ss or I.C.S, such as Electrical, Mechanical, Manufacturing … and download it directly in your software in one click2

One exciting function for our topic is that you can compare your design with the entire catalogue to find a similar standard part and avoid creating an expensive one.

Regularly calculate the cost during the conception phases and compare several manufacturing partners.

3DEXPERIENCE Make's add in for Solidworks is basically an On-Demand Manufacturing platform with more than 100 service providers available across Europe and the United States such as 3D Prod, Xometry or Sculpteo3. They supply different production processes from 3D Printing service, CNC Machining service, Molding service, Cutting service to Forming service. You request quote simply within SOLIDWORKS to multiple manufacturing companies, then compare their offers easily, or look at the ‘Instant Quote’ engine to get up to 25 proposals in one second. The solution provides a chat to communicate directly with them about the project, and a secured payment by Card or Purchase order.

In this context, you can use the Instant Quote as a guide to improve your design. When you let the add-in open in SOLIDWORKS, a live update of the price happens at each modification of your design. See below how it works.

Optimize your design

Choose the right Materials

Material represents an important part of the cost of your design.

For example, if you want to create an affordable good, do not make it in titanium.

You also have to be careful of the usage of your product. ABS seems cheap but could remain useless for very hot temperatures.

Reduce Size and Volume of materials.

The more your part stands large and dense, the more you need quantity of materials and the less you would find machines to make it. Consequence, price would be higher. Optimize your design appears a key pillar of a cost-efficient prototype. We call it ‘Topology optimization’.

Specialised software could adapt your design automatically considering the materials, the manufacturing method but also the usage (resistance, temperature, etc.). For example, GDE by Dassault Systèmes propose, after a specification phase, various optimized designs per process4.

If you 3D Print your part use lattice as much as possible

For 3D Printing, lattice appears a great method to reduce the cost of your prototype, in changing dense area by a structure of little empty triangles5. Only 3D Printers could today handle this method. Advantage is the lightweight arrangements and high strength balance, that means less volume and less material to use, for the same result. You can find multiple software or add-in for SOLIDWORKS to help you on ‘lattice’.

But if you are looking for qualified help on your prototype and its design, 3DEXPERIENCE Engineering is an On-Demand Engineering service providers available in the add-in 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplaces in SOLIDWORKS. It allows you to pitch your project to up to 50 Engineering services companies. It covers all industries and engineering skills like 3D Design, topology improvement, production optimization etc. At the end, you choose in several clicks the best offer.

You can communicate with your partner at any time, thanks to a chat, or through our customer services at your disposable.

How to get the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace add-in in SOLIDWORKS



Go on the Add-in area in SOLIDWORKS, click on 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplaces.

Download 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplaces add-in for SOLIDWORKS, follow the instruction to install it and enjoy it.

Discover our other manufacturing services

3D Printing process

3D Printing - Additive manufacturing


CNC Machining

(Milling, turning & spark machining)

CNC Machining - Substractive

Milling, turning & spark machining

Laser cutting


Laser cutting, Water cutting, Blade

Sheet metal process forming service 3DEXPERIENCE Make

Sheet Metal


Get multiple quotes for your parts in seconds