Oakland County Awards $15M for Phase 2 of World’s Largest 3-D Printing Network

Oakland County today announced it is designating $15 million in funding for Phase 2 of Project DIAMOnD, a program that was launched in 2020 to accelerate digital transformation by distributing 300 3-D printers to small and medium-size manufacturers at no cost.
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3D printer in action
Oakland County is designating $15 million in funding for Phase 2 of Project DIAMOnD, in which 250 more companies will receive 3-D printers at no or reduced cost. // Stock photo

Oakland County today announced it is designating $15 million in funding for Phase 2 of Project DIAMOnD, a program that was launched in 2020 to accelerate digital transformation by distributing 300 3-D printers to small and medium-size manufacturers at no cost.

Project DIAMOnD, which stands for Digital, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing on Demand, was founded to support regional manufacturers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was the creation of the world’s largest 3-D printing network and what the county is calling “the most significant effort of its kind to take small and medium-sized manufacturers to the next level of manufacturing.”

“The Project DIAMOnD program has been one of Oakland County’s most successful endeavors to help local manufacturers use advanced technology to become more adaptable, efficient, and realize significant cost savings,” says David Coulter, Oakland County executive. “This initiative is expanding so even more manufacturers can innovate and create new business opportunities and increase production of badly needed parts in an era of supply chain disruptions and shortages.”

The announcement of the grant was made at a press conference today at Unique Short Tree in Rochester Hills, which benefitted from the project’s first phase.

“Additive, or 3-D printing, is the future of manufacturing, and we know companies must embrace this technology to succeed long term,” says Pavan Muzumdar, CEO of Project DIAMOnD and COO of Automation Alley, which administers the project. “Phase 1 was focused on creating the ability for traditional manufacturers to accept, understand, and embrace the technology. With funding from Oakland County, Phase 2 will focus on converting that ability to commercial activity while further expanding the network with new manufacturers.”

Phase 2 will provide an additional 250 3-D printers to Oakland County manufacturers at no or reduced cost. The three-year funding commitment is made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Oakland County-based small and medium-sized manufacturers and engineering services, tech services, design, robotics, and integrators are encouraged to apply for Phase 2. For more information and an application, visit projectdiamond.org.

Oakland County reports the presence of 2,626 manufacturers, $13 billion in manufacturing GDP, and 66,790 manufacturing jobs (which creates 1.8 indirect jobs for every manufacturing position). It estimates 3-D printing could create 10,000 to 32,000 new skilled jobs.

Automation Alley and Project DIAMOnD say they will continue to work with existing partners, Markforged Inc., Giggso, and 3YOURMIND, and are seeking additional partners, printer manufacturers, and funders to join the program.