A designer lamp, earrings or a phone case, a 3D printer can make it all. This technique enables small runs, customization to order and complex shapes.
You can get started with it yourself, but that requires expertise. Outsourcing to 3D printing services therefore might be a better option. This is also handy because you can instantly request a CNC online quote as well. For a British company, this is usually the best way to produce parts, which is also the case due to the advantages mentioned below.
What is 3D printing?
Before the benefits of additive manufacturing for companies are mentioned, it is first introduced so you can learn more about this manufacturing method. 3D printing is a technique in which you create a three-dimensional object with a printer. The object is created layer by layer from materials such as plastic, metal or concrete. The printer creates the object based on a 3D model, which is a digital description of the object. Printing takes a few minutes to hours, depending on, among other things, the printing technique, and the size of the object.
Small product series
Injection molding is often too expensive for small quantities due to the required mold or die. However, 3D printing does make a small run of your product possible. It is even possible to print single pieces or customization for individual customers, which is often referred to as rapid manufacturing. Hereby you will not need product storage, since you print to order. Because of this, you can save money as you do not need to buy or rent a massive warehouse.
More complex shapes
Complex shapes such as cavities in an object can usually be 3D printed in one go, although sometimes support structures might be needed. This is not always possible with regular techniques, such as milling. You often have to build your product from multiple, separate parts. A complex, 3D printed object consists of one part and is therefore stronger. Not only that, but this will also lead to less wastage of the material, which is typically the case with additive manufacturing since you will not need to use more material than needed.
Quickly remove errors
You can create a 3D printed prototype of your product quickly and relatively cheaply with additive manufacturing. Within hours you will see and feel your product. In this way you are able to remove errors from your product design. An alternative is that you first make a mold and then injection mold a prototype of your product. That is expensive and you only want to do this when your product design is completely ready, because it takes much more time too. On the other hand, the materials for 3D printing prototypes are cheap. A 3D printer also makes an object with just the right amount of material, so without wastage as mentioned before. On top of that, it simply does not take as much time as injection molding.