3D Printing for manufacturing has been one of the latest use cases, and it’s one of the most important ones. 3D Printing is growing steadily and at a fantastic rate, which has surprised the world with its usability. The use cases of them are almost endless, and nowadays, everyone can have a 3D printer at their home ready to make everything you want.
This industry and 3D printers for manufacturing specifically have been highlighted recently for the practicality and efficiency that they offer. All significant organizations are trying to improve their production lines by using 3D printers when possible. They save on costs, and also, they are a lot faster to produce than, let’s say, a traditional CNC machine. But first, let’s explain what is 3D Printing for those who might not still be in the loop.
What is 3D Printing?
Invented in 1986, 3D Printing was initially used mainly for prototyping purposes but quickly evolved into something much more helpful – mass customization. Today, we can create customized products from plastic materials like ABS, PLA, and others, including metal alloys and even ceramics. These materials are then printed onto various types of supports ranging from paper up to other flexible materials and many more.
This means that virtually any type of product can now be manufactured through additive processes, and this includes medical devices, fashion accessories, consumer goods, household items, and so forth. We will discuss some of these examples later in our article about how 3D Printing for manufacturing works. For now, though, we’ll look at why people are interested in it, how it works and where it could go next.
Why People Are Interested In It
First things first, if you haven’t heard of 3D Printing yet, there are quite a few reasons why you should get familiarized with it. Firstly, it offers excellent opportunities for companies looking to reduce operational costs by reducing inventory levels since they no longer need to store large quantities of raw materials and finished products. Secondly, it helps solve problems related to supply chain management because orders can be fulfilled within hours instead of days or weeks.
How 3D Printing Works
In simple terms, 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process where we layer materials over each other until we create our desired shape. As we mentioned earlier, it was invented back in the 1980s, but only now have people started realizing how useful this technology will be and how much potential it offers.
Additive Manufacturing is used to manufacture complex shapes with layers of raw materials added together. This creates your object step-by-step rather than cutting away pieces as machining does. A significant advantage lies in printing objects without requiring any support structure underneath because of advanced technologies applied during AM processes.
Where is 3D Printing Headed?
These days anyone can buy a low-cost 3D printer online and start experimenting right away. You don’t need any expensive equipment or special training since the software needed to operate the device is very easy to learn.
There are different kinds of 3D printers available out there today. Some are better suited for creating prototypes, while others work well as industrial 3D printers. In fact, some companies specialize solely in making these sorts of machines, such as Stratasys, EOS, and DMLS. Most 3D printers fall under either category; however, all types of 3D printers share a common goal: build something from nothing.
These include extrusion, laminate deposition modeling, powder bed fusion, stereolithography, and selective laser melting. With the help of computer-aided design software, we are able to create three-dimensional models before building physical items using various techniques mentioned above.
3D Printing for Manufacturing
The use of 3D Printing in manufacturing saw a huge increase first when the pandemic first began and there was a shortage of ventilator accessories. Many hospitals around the world started seeking the help of local 3D printers to avoid disasters since shipping was not available or really delayed at the time. They were true heroes in a time of need, and these machines saved so many lives.
After that, companies realized that they could use these devices to produce specific parts themselves instead of waiting for shipping or a CNC machine. All those benefits whilst also being way cheaper. Let’s compare those metrics that I mentioned above with a sample part, a CNC machine takes 2-3 weeks to produce the piece, and a 3D printer only takes 5-9 hours which is 48 times faster. The cost for the part with the 3D printer is $9 – $28, and a CNC machine is going to cost $45 – $340, which is 12 times more.
Now, why do you need a 3D printer for business purposes? Well, the answer is pretty simple: Because you want to reduce cost while increasing productivity and making things easier for yourself. This means that you can literally save days or even weeks of time by having an in-house 3D printer.
In this article, we explained what 3D printing is, how it works, and the use cases for manufacturing. It allows people everywhere to create any object, whether small or big, simple or complex, without having access to expensive equipment. At this point, there isn’t much difference between consumer-grade machines and professional machines apart from speed and cost per part.
Hopefully, there was some valuable information for you in this article. Let’s look at some of the most important things explained above.
- Invented in 1986, 3D Printing was initially used mainly for prototyping purposes but quickly evolved into something much more useful – mass customization.
- Virtually any type of product can now be manufactured through additive processes, and this includes medical devices, fashion accessories, consumer goods, household items, and so forth.
- 3D Printing offers excellent opportunities for companies looking to reduce operational costs by reducing inventory levels.
- Additive Manufacturing is used to manufacture complex shapes with layers of raw materials added together.
With all that being said, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below for every question that you might have about this article.