What is 3D printing?
The creation of a 3D printed object is an additive technology used to manufacture parts. It is ‘additive’ in that it doesn’t require a block of material or a mold to manufacture physical objects, it just stacks and fuses layers of material. It’s generally quick, with minimal fixed setup costs, and can create more complex objects than ‘traditional’ technologies, with an ever-expanding list of materials. It is used extensively in the engineering industry, particularly for prototyping and creating lightweight geometries.
Different types of 3D printing:
- Vat Polymerization
- Material Extrusion
- Powder Bed Fusion
- Material Jetting
- Binder Jetting
- Direct Energy Deposition
- Sheet Lamination
What are the benefits of 3D printing?
There are many different types of 3D printing options available, but the benefits of 3D printing will be sure to offer any vertical you are in an advantage. With the unparalleled ability to provide your customers with high levels of accuracy, increased speed-to-market, easy testing, and the ability to create custom specialty parts with lower fabrication cost, it is sure to provide amble reasoning to implement 3D printing into your next project.
Common benefits of 3D printing:
- Competitive advantage
- Product testing
- Tangible design
- Risk Reduction
What materials are used?
With 3D printing being so versatile, the range of materials that can be used are as diverse as the products that come from the process. Each material has their own unique features, strengths, durability, and weaknesses. Making sure that you have the right material for the job you are trying to accomplish is crucial because of the high variance nature of 3D printing. Important factors such as texture, material type, and cost will also need to be considered.
Common materials used in 3D printing:
- ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
- PLA (Polylactic Acid)
- Stainless steel
- HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)
- PET/PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate)
How long does 3D printing take to complete?
The process of 3D printing will usually start by gathering all the information on the desired object being created. After gathering that information, the creation process of getting said object in hand can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 days or more. There are many different factors in the 3D printing process that will dictate the length it takes to create a part. A few of these factors include the complexity and overall size of the part as well as the process you choose to use when creating the object. Hard coat, paint, and graphic finishes will add to the lead time.
Key factors to keep in mind with 3D Printing services:
What is the typical price range does 3D printing run?
Cost variance will greatly depend on a multitude of different factors. These factors include, different machining methods, size of the object, design complexity, finishing method, quantity and type of material used to create the part, labor cost, and how much post-production evaluation will need to be done. The overhead price for 3D printing can be costly, but the increased speed and fine detail it provides is an immense advantage over past techniques.