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What is 3D printing and how can it help my business?

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You may have heard about 3D printing or the term additive manufacturing over the past few years as it has become increasingly popular. 3D printing is a process used to make 3D solid objects using an additive process. The first step to 3D printing is to model the object you want to 3D print and define it in a 3D modeling software such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, or Autodesk. Then from that file, the 3-dimensional object is 3D printed and fabricated. Since 3D printing is an additive process, you can imagine that the object is created by adding material layer by layer until you create the object. Each layer is a thin cross-section of the object that is deposited or printed layer by layer. Imagine that thin strands of the object are printed one by one until the object is made.

Now you might be wondering, why is 3D printing so important to me and how does it help my business? Here are a few reasons to consider using 3D printing during your product development process.

  1. 3D printing can be used inexpensively to create a proto-type.
    There are a large number of online 3D printing platforms where you can upload your 3D model and receive a quick turnaround. When compared to 3D printing, other manufacturing processes such as injection molding require a higher amount of capital to cover set up costs such as tooling. The lower upfront costs for 3D printing is what makes it perfect and attractive for physical proto-types for startups and small businesses.
  2. You can easily revise and modify your product’s parts.
    3D printing allows you to revise parts easily for a better fit or a more attractive design. Going back to the 3D modeling software and changing dimensions or features of your design can be easily implemented. Even after you finish the modifications to your design, you still need to do a test fit and thus another 3D printed assembly. In other manufacturing methods such as injection molding this is not as easy.
  3. It is great for first time products with low production numbers.
    A majority of the time, startups do not have the capital to cover the costs for injection molding or metal extrusion manufacturing processes which can be expensive and time consuming to get going. Not every startup sells high volumes of their product in the beginning which is normal and dependent on their marketing budget and strategy.

Contact us today to tell us about your great idea!