Project DIAMOnD

Automation Alley, funded by Oakland and Macomb counties, has created the Project DIAMOnD to address the urgent need to move companies into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 as fast as possible to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility and response to future disruptions. 

Oakland and Macomb Manufacturers: Apply Now!

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly reshaping and accelerating the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector. As businesses are forced to change and adapt, they are finding new ways to get the job done during these uncertain times—and Industry 4.0 technologies are leading the way. 

Automation Alley, funded by Oakland and Macomb counties, has created the Project DIAMOnD—which stands for Distributed, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing On-Demand—program to address the urgent need to move companies into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 as fast as possible to help improve our region’s manufacturing agility and response to future disruptions. 

Manufacturers accepted into the program will receive:

  • Industry 4.0 Equipment: participating companies will receive a production part capable 3D printer valued at more than $20,000 at no-cost. 
  • Strategic Guidance: on how to transform from legacy operations to digital manufacturing.
  • An Industry 4.0 Assessment: outlining where their business stands today and what digital opportunities best fit their needs. 
  • Connections and introductions: to state-of-the art vendors and applied research that can help them along their path to Industry 4.0. 
  • A financial investment: will be granted in the form of a state-of-the art 3D printer.

Does my company qualify?

To qualify, companies must be a small or medium sized manufacturer residing in Oakland or Macomb County.

Apply today!


Oakland County Virtual Info Session 

Macomb County Virtual Info Session 

Building a Resilient and Flexible Supply Chain

Building a Business around 3D Printing: Tactical Application of Additive Manufacturing

Why this and why now?

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an urgent and massive need for PPE and ventilators. The unanticipated need, coupled with the inability to quickly ramp up production, contributed to government quarantines until such time that the health care system could get stocked with resources as well as build the capacity to handle an onslaught of patients. This program will address this problem by helping position our region as an agile, digital-ready essential source of manufactured goods in times of national crisis.


We understood that as a grant recipient we may need to fulfill PPE orders placed by Oakland County and/or Automation Alley.  But what is meant by non-PPE orders placed by Automation Alley?  What does Automation Alley intend to cover with this language? 
Automation Alley intends to use this equipment to generate revenues for its grantees via orders from non-PPE types of components. We will try to procure business from other companies that might want to produce parts on this network. Our objective is to make sure grantees are suitably compensated and the compensation will be attractive enough to keep the equipment up and running. We’re still figuring out the details.  

Does Oakland County and/or Automation Alley already have a planned order for personal protective equipment?   
We don’t have a planned order, but we will be running test orders. At some time, a planned order might come depending on needs.  

What is the anticipated bandwidth necessary to provide the network access? 
Any wifi or ethernet network using standard broadband connectivity will work.  

Will you please describe what would be considered a transaction on the portal? And the fee for a standard transaction? 
We have not defined this yet. The transaction fee will be commensurate with providing the service. It will be designed to be similar to or lower than what you might pay for credit card validation.  

What is the size of the Mark 2 printer and where is the best placement for it? 
Size is 23x13x14, similar to a microwave. It will require a desk or some kind of platform to sit on. Electrical is normal standard wall outlet preferable with a surge protector power strip.  

Are there any necessary venting requirements for the Mark 2? 
The printer does not have ventilation requirements.  

If there is a PPE order, will I have to pay for the material and other associated costs? 
If it is material you have already received with the printer, you will use that. If it is material you have purchased, you will be compensated for the cost along with a reasonable profit that is yet to be determined. We will update this FAQ when that profit amount or mechanism is determined.  

What happens to the technology after the 3-year required period to be on the network? 
Yours to keep.  

How soon after receiving my pre-approval will I get my contract? 
You can expect the contract through DocuSign after your technology has been identified.   

Can I use this printer for purposes other than making PPE? 
Yes, our hope is that this technology will help further your business.  

I’m not interested in receiving equipment, but I’d like to participate.  
At this phase we are working on deploying technology. We will look for opportunities for service providers to participate in the project in the future.  

What will I need to provide to my CPA for tax season?  
Each company’s tax situation is unique to them so we recommend that you discuss this with your accountant to ensure that you get the best advice possible for your specific situation.  

Is there a deadline to sign the contract? 
You can't get equipment until you sign it and we will be sending the equipment on a first come first serve basis after getting a signed agreement. There are limited number of printers. So, please send in your signed agreement ASAP. 

My company works with the DoD and therefore we have specific security requirements. Allowing the printer on our network would violate NIST 800-171. We would need a separate VPN. What should we do? 
You can find information about Markforged security at If you have further questions, please schedule a support session here.  

“Grantee shall be suitably compensated by Oakland County for PPE orders placed by Oakland County and by Grantor for non-PPE orders placed by Grantor.” - This is open-ended, can you please elaborate?  
Yes, at this point this is a program under development, including how much the compensation will be. Our objective is to either provide all the material used, or cover any costs, with a reasonable profit - which is yet to be determined.  

The contract mentions providing written reports. What kind of reports will we be providing and how frequently?  
We do not expect there to be a lot of reporting. Most of the information that is required is expected to be accessible through the network that the printer is connected to.  

What is the readiness assessment and how will I receive this?  
You will receive your assessment by email. The purpose of the assessment is to analyze the company in the following ways: 1. How well is the organization's purpose being represented by the strategy and executed in the day-to-day work? 2. What is the ability of the company to reinvest digitally? (if you provide financials) and 3. What challenges and opportunities may your company face from a technology perspective? From those viewpoints, we provide analysis and recommend three critical priorities for the company to implement. The recommendations are to be achievable and to resolve systemic challenges or bolster the ability to seize opportunities. All information including results is kept confidential and not shared with anyone without your consent. 

“All technology provided by Grantor must remain on the Grantor’s Network for a minimum of three (3) years after it is received.” What network is this referring to? 
Each printer that is a part of the grant agreement will be securely connection to the Automation Alley Project DIAMOnD network using the Grantee’s local network. 

Section 18 describes access to records for audits. Do we need to provide access for all items printed, or just PPE items printed? Is the audit limited to the printer?  
The printer is likely outside the scope of the agreement and would not be subject to an audit.  

What happens if we have to relocate in the middle of the three-year contract? Are we attached to Oakland County?  
In the event that a company moves outside of the County, they are no longer in compliance with Grantee certification 3 and will need to be terminated from participation.  

What is the value of the grant that needs to be covered by insurance?​ 

  • Markforged Mark 2 grant: $19,925 
  • Markforged X7 grant: $61,935 
  • Light Guide System: $22,900 

Is there a minimum amount of material that has to be stored and available at all times for PPE? 
Yes, the one spool of free material provided for PPE. 

What software programs are needed to set up the files for the print and to slice the file for the gcode needed to print the part? 
The software used is Eiger and it is free.  

Will you be monitoring all print files that are printed outside of the DIAMOnD program? 

What are the native file types that the printer can read and is the push software cloud based or on premise? 
The native file type for the slicing software, known as Eiger, is converted from and STL file that can be generated from any solid modeling software. 

How do you envision individual companies marketing their participation in the Diamond Program? 
Initially on their own, later in phase two we expect to have platform functionality for this. Undefined at the moment. 

How will scheduling occur for 3D printing between PPE printing and our own prints? 
PPE will wait for the current print to complete and will print next. 

Are we able to grow the network of printers by purchasing additional ourselves? 
Yes, please do! 

Can I have more than one employee on the Automation Alley portal for technology training?  
There are two portals with Project Diamond information for grantees: the Automation Alley Membership Portal and the Markforged University. You will find general Project DIAMOND information and recordings of webinars and training sessions in the Project DIAMOND portal and can have as many employees logins as you'd like.

There is also a Markforged University portal, a more in-depth training portal separate from the Automation Alley portal. All Project DIAMOnD participants are given two free licenses for Markforged University training. If you'd like to receive information on training services, please contact Zach Rosenzweig.

What is the preventative maintenance schedule for the printer? 
To get the most life and reduce the risk of downtime, the user should practice routine preventative maintenance. Detailed preventative maintenance schedule can be found here:

Do we get access to cad software?  For those that are new to additive and small businesses, is the additional support offered? I need to learn how to implement this into my business. How do we start working?

Sign up for the Markforged User Community. Join the community to connect with other Project DIAMOnD companies, learn about design and print projects, and connect with the Markforged team. Access the Markforged User Community by logging in to the Support Portal and navigating through

the main menu in the upper right corner of your screen. Register for the Buddy Program. View a demo for logging into the portal.

I would like to know more about metal printing farms available to us.

All metal print farms available through Project DIAMOND have been awarded. If you’d like to learn more about metal printing, please contact Zach Rosenzweig ( at Markforged.

When should the printer arrive?  via UPS or FXG?

The printer will be shipped via UPS, usually within three weeks of receipt of the signed contract.

Is this a regional or nationwide network?

Because the network is being developed with CARES grant money awarded to Macomb and Oakland County, it is currently regional consisting only of companies within Oakland and Macomb county.  There are future plans to expand beyond this region.

Can you print with Kevlar alone?

No. Kevlar is a specialized Continuous Fiber designed to be laid into parts printed with a Composite Base material. When laid into a Composite Base material, it yields extremely impact-resistant parts that are nearly immune to catastrophic failure (fracture). To learn more about Markforged materials, visit:

Milestones needed to be completed:

  • Apply
  • Sign Contract
  • Sign onto Automation Alley portal
  • Enroll in Markforged University
  • Print badge and email a photo to Automation Alley, validating that your printer is installed and online
  • Fill out an Industry 4.0 Readiness Assessment

Fill out the application on the Automation Alley site. After review for eligibility by the County Point of Contact, you will receive a contract via DocuSign. Once the contract is signed, Markforged will provide the 3D printer to your location. Use your existing Automation Alley login (or the new one provided if your company is not currently a member) to log in and access the Resources tab to learn all the aspects regarding the program. Sign up for Markforged University to learn the particulars regarding operation of your new printer. You will then receive periodic communications regarding network calls for printing of PPE. You will also receive notification of upcoming Lunch & Learn events where you can learn about the latest information as well as ask questions.

How are we notified when our services are needed?

There are many ways that Automation Alley will reach out to you:

  • Emergency orders will be sent right to your printer through the Command Center that communicates through Eiger, the cloud-based software on your printer.
  • Non-emergency correspondence will be sent through email, Project DIAMOnD monthly newsletter, bi-weekly Lunch & Learns. Currently in development is a cloud-based interactive bulletin board that will allow for peer-to-peer and group messaging.

How do I sign my 3D printer into the Project DIAMOnD network?

When your printer ships, Markforged uses a unique serial number to pre-assign your printer to the Project DIAMOnD network on your behalf. Once you have created your Eiger organization and registered your printer to your network, your printer will be automatically on the Project DIAMOnD network.

What are the additional costs we should project for participating once we are signed into the portal and we have the printer? What operating cost would we be responsible for?

You are responsible for a Project DIAMOnD administrative fee:

  • Year 1: $49/month
  • Year 2-3: $99/month

How will other Project DIAMOnD members be introduced to one another outside of being on the same Webinars?

Automation Alley is happy to facilitate introductions between Project DIAMOnD network participants.  Other ways to connect is the Markforged Buddy Program and participation in the Lunch & Learn events to discuss applications and to meet other manufacturers involved in the Project. Currently in development is a cloud-based interactive bulletin board that will allow for peer-to-peer and group messaging.

Are there any Startup grants to get a building?

For startup support and information about funding resources, please contact John Bedz at

What is the process for procuring work orders?

Orders for PPE will be handled through the Eiger network and sent to available printers for manufacture. Non-emergency and business development monetization of the network and business development opportunities will be discussed at the bi-weekly Lunch & Learn series and rolled out in Q1 2021.

Will we be able to meet other Project Diamond members?

Yes. The Lunch & Learns will provide the opportunity to meet other participants in the project.

Recommended training for Fusion360?

Visit to find training options for Fusion 360.

Can the printers only print onyx material, or can it print ABS or PLA?

The Markforged platform can print a number of proprietary materials designed and manufactured specifically for Markforged printers. Third-party materials not manufactured by Markforged cannot be used on a Markforged printer. To learn more about Markforged materials visit

I will not be able to attend live, hoping that I'll be able to get a recording.

If you missed the project kick-off meeting or wish to view it again, Click here to view the Project Diamond Kick-Off, which took place on December 16th.  A recording of all Project DIAMOND events will be posted in your Automation Alley portal.

Will companies be grouped into sectors or trained in specific manufacturing needs?

As Project DIAMOnD evolves, sectoring and focused product creation may become an option for maximizing utilization of the network. 

Are we able to announce our selection to be part of Project Diamond on social media?

Yes. This is encouraged. This is a Federally funded program and does not involve any classified or close-hold information.

Once we get the Printer calibrated, where do we get the file to print the badge and when/where will we send it in?

The badge file is included in your Project DIAMOnD readiness assessment in the online training program. Register for Markforged University using code DIAMOND2020. Once you've reached that point in training, you will be prompted to download the file and print it. After you print the badge, email a photo of it to Shelly Watkins at and you will receive documentation stating that you are an “Essential Business”.

Who came up with this amazing idea?

Macomb and Oakland County took advantage of funding made available through The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Automation Alley, Macomb County and Oakland County developed the program together and continue to work together as the network strengthens and monetizes. See: The Treasury Department is Delivering COVID-19 Relief for All Americans. And PPE Resilience Grant.  

How do you envision PPE orders being distributed among the Diamond participants?

Emergency orders will be distributed to all printers on the network through the Automation Alley Command Center. 

Anticipated utilization rate of the network and possible other forms of production that might come outside of PPE.

Utilization rate for PPE production is unknown at this time and is dependent on pandemic progression. Production demands beyond PPE on a network basis is still being formulated. However, each company is encouraged to be creative in finding ways to utilize their printer for furthering their own business. Non-emergency and business development monetization of the network and business development opportunities will be discussed at the bi-weekly Lunch & Learn series and rolled out in Q1 2021.

Will there be any assistance with developing marketing and sales of 3D printing technology?

Non-emergency and business development monetization of the network and business development opportunities will be discussed at the bi-weekly Lunch & Learn series and rolled out in Q1 2021. By utilizing the Markforged Buddy Program and by attending and participating in the Lunch & Learn sessions, companies will share experiences and best practices for utilization and commercialization of their printing services.

When we need more rolls of material who do we contact?

This information is provided in numerous places. Work with CAM Logic for discounted pricing and faster delivery time. Contact information is included in the portal.

Where on the Markforged website do we find manuals, whitepapers, etc. on how to use their product?

Education resources for the Markforged platform can be found on the Resource section of the site: User manuals are accessible to customers on our Support site, which you may log in to with your Eiger credentials here:

Does the printer need to be left on?

In order to receive Project DIAMOnD alerts and requests for PPE production the printer must remain on. 

Are there any tools available to optimize multiple jobs from different customers as part of the same build, and are there any cost considerations that should be made for this scenario when quoting jobs?

You are able to add as many parts as would fit on the build tray at a single time. Eiger will not allow you to over pack the build tray. To add multiple parts to a single print, click 'Add Parts' within the 'Parts in Build' field on the build settings sidebar in the print view of Eiger. The cost of material for each part would be visible within the Part Details sidebar on the left side of the screen.

How can you extract models out of Eiger that show where carbon reinforcements have been placed in the model to do FEA analysis? 

This is something we are working on developing.

What is the Lunch & Learn Series and how to I access recording of past events?

The Project DIAMOnD Lunch & Learn series takes place every other Friday starting Jan. 15, 2021 and were developed to provide operational next steps, encourage participant collaboration, and to strengthen our blockchain community through networking and commercialization. Invites to the next event will be sent via email the week before. To view the recordings of past Lunch & Learn events, log in to your Automation Alley portal here

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