Are you aware of the many advantages of 3D printing technology? Follow along as we break down the main ones here.
Additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, is the process of producing 3-dimensional objects from a computer file, where the part is built by adding material layer-by-layer.
Today, more companies in a variety of industries are embracing the 3D printing process as it presents many significant advantages over the more traditional manufacturing methods of subtractive manufacturing and injection molding.
One of the biggest advantages of 3D printing technology is Rapid Prototyping. Rapid prototyping is the ability to design, manufacture, and test a customized part in as little time as possible. Also, if needed, the design can be modified without adversely affecting the speed of the manufacturing process.
For small production runs and prototyping, 3D printing is the best option as far as speed is concerned.
For small production runs and applications, 3D printing is the most cost-effective manufacturing process. Traditional prototyping methods like CNC machining and injection molding require a large number of expensive machines plus they have much higher labor costs as they require experienced machine operators and technicians to run them.
This contrasts with 3D printing process, where only 1 or 2 machines and fewer operators are needed (depending on the system) to manufacture a part. There is far less waste material because the part is built from the ground up, not carved out of a solid block as it is in subtractive manufacturing and usually does not require additional tooling.
Another big advantage of 3D printing is that any given printer can create almost anything that fits within its build volume.
In 3D printing, the design is fed into slicer software, needed supports added, and then printed with little or no change at all in the physical machinery or equipment.
3D printing allows the creation and manufacture of geometries impossible for traditional methods to produce, either as a single part, or at all. Such geometries include hollow cavities within solid parts and parts within parts.
3D printing, in contrast to traditional methods, allows the inclusion of multiple materials into a single object, enabling an array of colors, textures, and mechanical properties to be mixed and matched.
3D printing allows any user, even those with limited CAD experience, to edit designs however they like, creating unique, customized new parts. This also means any given design can be manufactured in a wide range of different materials.
3D printing creates a lot less waste material for a single part plus materials used in 3D printing generally are recyclable.
Find out more advantages of 3D printing on the MakerBot blog.
Image source: MakerBot