8 Advantages of 3D Printing: What You Need to Know for 2022
What Can 3D Printers Do?
With 3D printers becoming more affordable than ever, small businesses, hobbyists, inventors, and educators are finding tangible solutions to their problems. This technology has steadily penetrated and revolutionized manufacturing processes from aerospace to healthcare, footwear to model making, and automobiles to architecture.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the numerous benefits of using 3D printing technologies over traditional manufacturing processes.
8 Advantages of 3D Printing Technologies
3D printing has changed the way we develop prototypes and build replacement parts in terms of speed, flexibility, and cost. Below we discuss eight of the main advantages of using 3D printing.
Machining prototypes is a time-consuming and expensive process because you need tools, fixtures, and jigs to make molds and casts. The part has to go through several processes, such as injection molding, machining, cutting, and joining. The timeline can vary from weeks to months to get a functional prototype.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing enables rapid prototyping so manufacturers can transform ideas into real products faster. You can design a 3D model in a CAD program, upload it to your 3D printer, and get a printed physical part in a few hours. Moreover, you can modify designs at a low cost by editing individual files.
Creating new prototypes can be troublesome, especially if you are a manufacturer using traditional manufacturing methods. You have to make modifications, corrections, and redesign models constantly before you produce a version that best meets your requirements.
3D printing offers a faster and more efficient way to create prototypes and even final parts. It turns a whole object into a 3D CAD model and then builds it up layer by layer into a solid layer with no input from the machine user. This means you just need to create a 3D model, upload the CAD file to the 3D printer, and print it. Ultimately, 3D printing reduces the timeline significantly.
The manufacturing cost for traditional manufacturing methods is usually high as they involve various activities such as injection molding, CNC machining, cutting, and assembling. In addition to this, there are costs linked to purchasing expensive machinery and skilled labor costs. Companies need to achieve economies of scale to lower per-unit costs.
In contrast, the 3D printing process is mostly digital dependent and thus the total cost is significantly reduced, limited to the cost of 3D printing materials. Most plastic filaments cost around $25 to $150 per kg.
Cost savings of up to 90% have been attributed to additive manufacturing compared to traditional machining processes.
With traditional manufacturing, there are costs associated with assembling complicated parts which result in a higher price as complexity increases. In 3D printing, the cost of the product is unaffected by the complexity of the product design as the whole object is created in one step (and no assembling is required).
Additive manufacturing is disrupting the way traditional manufacturers and designers think and make products. Subtractive manufacturing processes like cutting and milling are not suitable for creating complex geometries and surfaces with cavities or undercuts.
3D printing removes conventional manufacturing limitations by allowing designers to construct intricate product designs in 3D CAD software and make objects by building up layers of material. This approach results in high dimensional accuracy and smooth surfaces compared to traditional manufacturing processes such as injection molding.
YouGov’s research study revealed that the demand for personalized products grew from 17% to 26% from 2015 to 2018. And 46% of consumers agreed that they’d pay more for product personalization.
Additive manufacturing is the answer to the trend of customer-specific products in industries ranging from automotive to dental and healthcare to sports. It has emerged as a game-changer manufacturing technology that offers a wide range of customization possibilities in design, production, and performance.
Thanks to 3D printing, it’s possible to make products as per the needs and desires of the user. Businesses and individuals can create custom parts and final products from digital designs and produce iterations of the same product with little effort. This allows manufacturers and designers to transition from mass-production to mass-customization in a time- and cost-effective way.
The investment and setting up costs of subtractive technology are very high, whereas 3D printers are affordable. 3D printers range from cheap ($300) to high-end ($20,000) depending on the factors such as print speed, the cost of printing materials, the size of the build plate, etc.
3D printing machines can easily fit in your room, office, or lab. All you need is design software on your computer, and you can start printing objects
Traditional manufacturing methods are responsible for wasting raw materials and time. Substantial material is removed as waste subtractive manufacturing methods.
In contrast, 3D printing, by its very nature, produces less waste material than existing subtractive processes. Additive manufacturing mimics biological processes by adding layers using only the necessary amount of materials.
3D printing applications include aerospace, medical, and automotive. Additive manufacturing is particularly used for producing complex parts as it reduces build time and material wastage and contributes to a more sustainable manufacturing process.
Although conventional manufacturing methods offer a faster and cheaper way to produce large volumes, 3D printing enables you to make only those products that the customer has already ordered. This reduces warehousing and storage costs and improves time-to-market.
Additionally, traditional manufacturing requires companies to continually source and store spare parts to prevent disruption in the production process.
Outsourcing critical spare parts puts businesses at the risk of extended lead times. Companies can reduce dependence on third parties by storing a digital file and printing spare parts on-demand using 3D printing technologies such as FFF or SLA.
Need help getting your ideas to industrial production faster? Carbon Design Engine is a cloud-based design generator tailored specifically for engineers and product designers with tools for producing highly-functional parts.
Take Advantage of 3D Printing with Carbon
3D printing is helping businesses optimize their manufacturing processes for cost, efficiency, and flexibility. They are able to produce highly customized products on-demand and create radical new designs not possible with traditional tooling techniques.