OpenBOM Helps Craitor To Take US Marine Corps 3D Printer From Autodesk Fusion 360 Design Concept To Reality


Our friends at Craitor have partnered with the United States Marine Corps through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop portable, rugged, 3D printers capable of being deployed with Marine’s expeditionary forces. 

As the parent of a United States Marine Corp serviceman, I write this story with a great deal of pride in OpenBOM, the USMC, and of course Craitor as a valued customer. 

Craitor Co-Founder and CEO Eric Shnell, recently took time out from his shared workspace at USMC Camp Pendleton 9th Communication Batallion, San Diego, to talk to me about Craitor and the success they’ve had using OpenBOM on this important project.

“Our role is to develop a scalable technology capable of taking the USMC to the next level of field service, maintenance, and supply”, he explains. “We collaborate with the USMC on the development of capabilities and methods, primarily around 3D printing and delivering critical components on-demand, whenever and wherever they are needed.”

Whether an impeller for a Humvee fuel pump, satellite communications equipment mounts, ski bindings, snowshoe clips, or some other critical component, Craitor can quickly deliver high-quality 3D printed items to the Marine in the field.

Craitor operates on short design cycle times, agile methods, and an eye towards scalability.

“We needed a fast, reliable, and light-weight (eg. cost-effective) way to take our Autodesk Fusion 360 design from concept to reality, and buying OpenBOM has proven to be a great decision.”

As a 100% SaaS product, Craitor liked the rapid deployment of OpenBOM and it fits well into the Autodesk Fusion ecosystem.

“We evaluated a few other products but none met our requirements like OpenBOM”, says Eric.

“The OpenBOM Fusion 360 integration is world-class and easily takes our product structure design in Fusion to a Bill of Materials that is structured like our design with part numbers and names we like, can be easily understood, discussed, and share with the extended team and suppliers.”

“It’s just that simple”, says Eric.

The Craitor product structure is still evolving, and OpenBOM makes it easy for the team to quickly incorporate changes and ensure that all downstream operations and people have the latest and proper revision.

“OpenBOM has significantly reduced our cycle times from ECO to manufacturing”, Eric explains.

“We simply design with product structure in CAD and click BOM to see it in OpenBOM with preview images, part numbers, materials and sizes, and much more. It’s easy to track changes because the structure in OpenBOM looks like my CAD structure.”

“I love how I can click a link in the BOM and that design opens in Fusion ensuring we are always working on the proper file and version.”

But it’s more than just convenience.

“Of course, time-savings are critical, but reliability in manufacturing is equally important and OpenBOM creates a digital representation of our product that we can share with stakeholders and suppliers throughout the process.”

“With OpenBOM, everyone is on the correct version of the BOM.”

Like any technology, there was a learning curve.

“When we rolled out OpenBOM we just installed it and threw a ton of data at it. I know we would have benefited from formal onboarding but we just needed to get a BOM now – and we did!”

“The OpenBOM team later helped me smooth over a few rough spots in my process”, he says.

“The pre and post-sales support from OpenBOM is outstanding. The team at OpenBOM are experienced engineers and manufacturing folks and it shows.”

“As our process has matured we are finding even more benefits with OpenBOM. As a company, we have to be fast and flexible, we do all the work ourselves, and OpenBOM is a key component in our success.”

Craitor, like all startups, is always looking for value.

“We were expecting to spend so much more for PLM. OpenBOM gave us what we need at a great price! We got so much more than we expected!”

By Steve Hess

VP Product at OpenBOM

To learn more about Craitor please visit and follow them on LinkedIn 

To learn more about OpenBOM please visit

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