Your agency needs a lot of a special kind of widget. Or, you need a lot of slightly different widgets that would cost too much to purchase one at a time. (Or, you have some extra funds at the end of the fiscal year and want to buy something cool.)

If any of these scenarios apply, the General Services Administration's new special item number (SIN) for 3-D printers could be the solution.

As of Sept. 18, BahFed has already recorded sales of $1,613 off the SIN, according to GSA data.

"GSA is focused on being the standard bearer for 3-D printing/additive manufacturing by developing a total solution approach for all federal agencies requiring this technology," said Walter Johnson, contract specialist with the Federal Acquisition Service. "The total solution approach GSA is designing will provide a wide range of 3-D printing technology, consumable materials, ancillary equipment, imaging devices, software and rapid prototyping services."

Phillips Corp., for instance, already provides 3-D printing services to the Architect of the Capitol, National Institutes of Health, NASA and DoD components. Despite that, the company is pleased with GSA's decision to create a 3-D printing SIN.

"This new GSA listing offers something even more — access to the most cutting edge 3-D design and fabrication tools," like 3-D printing from the cloud, said Ron Schulze, president of Phillips Federal. "We are truly proud to offer 3-D Systems' suite of products to America's public servants."

Aaron Boyd is an awarding-winning journalist currently serving as editor of Federal Times — a Washington, D.C. institution covering federal workforce and contracting for more than 50 years — and Fifth Domain — a news and information hub focused on cybersecurity and cyberwar from a civilian, military and international perspective.

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