3D printing can be defined as a process of creating 3-dimensional products from computer files. The process involves adding material to the layer. Nowadays, a lot of companies have embraced 3D printing because it offers many benefits than traditional manufacturing techniques such as injection molding and subtractive manufacturing.
Advantages of 3D Printing
Rapid prototyping allows for the design and manufacture of customized parts quickly. Also, you can modify the design without reducing the speed of manufacturing. Without the use of 3D printing, a prototype can take a long time to manufacture. That is because when changes are made to the prototype, more time is required in the process. Thus, 3D printing provides creativity and freedom in creating almost anything without the use of expensive equipment and machinery. It reduces lead times, and you do not have to outsource manufacturing projects.
3D printing is considered to be a cost-effective process depending on the applications and production runs. Manufacturing practices such as injection molding and CNC machining need complex machines and are associated with higher labor costs. However, with 3D printing, only a few operators and machines are needed to create a part. Also, there is a minimal material waste as the part is made from scratch.
You should note that with 3D printing, you can create nearly anything that fits within the build volume. For traditional manufacturing techniques, new parts or changes in design require new tools to manufacture the new part. When it comes to 3D printing, you only need to feed the file into the slicer software, and your product is printed. For instance, with Creality 3d printer you can print geometries that are considered impossible with traditional manufacturing practices are now possible with a 3D printer.
Traditional manufacturing practices can result in poor quality prototypes. For instance, if the process involved mixing of different materials, if they do not get mixed well, then the end product will have quality issues. In fact, with injection molding and subtractive manufacturing, you cannot guarantee the quality of the product. Fortunately, with 3D printing, you can improve the design of the product.
It is now easier to access 3D printing systems as compared to traditional manufacturing systems. Ideally, it is quite costly to set up a traditional manufacturing center. Since 3D printing is less expensive, it is more accessible. Moreover, the process is automated and needs minimal time to maintain the machine. You can find students and professionals owning a 3D printer.
3D printing allows for fewer parts to be outsourced. As a result, it has a minimal environmental impact as fewer things need to be shipped. Moreover, you do not have to maintain and operate an energy-consuming setup. The good thing about this manufacturing technique is that it creates less material, and the materials used can be recycled.
If you are planning to start a small manufacturing business, you should consider embracing 3D printing. That is because it allows you to maintain quality and consistency. As a result, you can mitigate the risks involved in manufacturing. For instance, your customers can verify prototypes before you can manufacture their products.