Not Just Faster…Better: How 3D Printing Allows for Rapid Improvements

3D printing has done a lot to revolutionize the
manufacturing industry. Most people look at how much faster 3D printing can be
than traditional methods. While this is certainly a huge feature of this
technology, it is far from the only benefit. Modern 3D printers are actually
able to outperform traditional manufacturing in many areas.

Flexibility in Design

When trying to create something using traditional manufacturing technologies, each new part has to have its own tool, mold, or die before it can be created. 3D printers, on the other hand, are much more flexible on the creation process. Each design is created in a CAD (computer-aided design) program and can be ready in hours instead of days or weeks. The 3D printer will be able to incorporate each new design on the very next run, which means reduced downtime for each iteration.

Complex Designs Done Fast

Interlocking design 3D printed in Versatile Plastic (Nylon 12)

Advanced 3D printers have the ability to create one or more of the following features in one print job:

interlocking designs
Full colors
Multiple materials and colors

Having a 3D printer that can incorporate complex designs with multiple moving pieces and/or print in different material and color variations makes creating product varieties much quicker and easier than with traditional manufacturing. This increased flexibility eliminates the time and expenses needed for additional product assembly.

No Minimum Order Requirements

When printing in smaller quantities, the costs associated with 3D printing are far lower than those with traditional manufacturing options. One of the most significant savings comes from eliminating the need to create entirely new dies or molds for each project.

Because of this, there is no need to require large orders of a single part, which is typically necessary for traditional manufacturing. 3D printing can efficiently produce individual products, or small batches of products, without the added time in creating dies or molds. This makes 3D printing the ideal solution to produce high volumes of unique orders.

Reduced Waste

3D printing will typically have much less waste than traditional manufacturing technologies. Without the need to order hundreds or thousands of each part in advance, every product can be printed on demand. This helps eliminate the environmental impact when surplus products are produced and discarded, and reduces the need for additional storage.

Proven when it Matters Most

3D printing is a great manufacturing option that can meet rapidly changing demands. Find out how Shapeways can help with your product creation needs with efficient and high quality 3D printing.

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