A Date with Additive Manufacturing
Trying to determine the best manufacturing method to advance your product design and engineering business needs is a lot like dating. There are plenty of “fish in the sea,” so how do you determine which one is Mr. or Mrs. Right? Now more than ever 3D Printing scores a perfect 10 over its competitors. We’re here to help you get over that awkward First Date and learn why 3D Printing is your perfect match.
So...What Do You Do?
Awww, thanks for caring! A 3D printer is like an inkjet printer with one big difference – instead of laying down ink onto paper, a 3D printer lays down layers of materials onto a printing bed to form a 3-Dimensional solid object.
A 3-Dimensional computer model is first created using a computer-aided design (CAD) software such as our favorite, SOLIDWORKS. This computer model is then inputted into the 3D printer. Unlike traditional manufacturing, which generally uses subtractive methods, 3D Printing uses an additive process where materials are layered on top of one another. Layer by layer, the desired object is formed with precision based on the electronic design.
Come Here Often?
Actually, we’ve been here a lot longer than you might think. Considered a “new” innovation in manufacturing, the modern history of 3D Printing actually harkens back to 1981. That’s when Hideo Kodama created a printed model that was built in layers using photopolymers, a liquid that turns into a solid object when blasted with a UV laser beam. But the real game changer came in 1984, when Charles Hull invented Stereolithography, a process that allows a 3D object to be printed from a digital model.
By the early ‘90s, Stereolithographic Apparatus machines (known as SLAs) were using photopolymers to print a wide range of objects. And Selective Laser Sintering machines (SLS) were doing the same, but with a laser that shot at a powder instead of liquid.
How You Doin?
Well, Joey from Friends, let me tell ya: 3D printing is doin’ pretty awesome! Today, 3D Printing uses a variety of methods and supplies, but they all share the same Additive Manufacturing process, where materials are printed out layer by layer. 3D Printing is commonly used in a wide array of industries – from manufacturing to the medical field.
Your investment simply depends on your needs. Large scale printers, like those from our partner, BigRep, can produce items that have a build volume of up to one cubic meter, and the open sourced materials option gives you tons of flexibility. Markforged, another 3D Printing partner of ours, prides itself on the strength of the parts they produce– and, they can print in metal! The variety of material, methods, and print sizes turned 3D Printing into a $7.3 Billion industry in 2018, according to a report by Wohlers Associates. And experts agree that it will become a $21 Billion Industry by 2021!
How Do I Know You're The One?
3D Printing has clear benefits over other forms of manufacturing, including:
- Increased productivity – higher quality products get designed and built faster
- Reduced production costs – one printer can produce multiple objects without wasting extra materials
- Enhanced design options – modifications and customization are done with a few clicks on a computer screen – no additional equipment required
We could go on and on about these benefits and why additive manufacturing is the best choice for your business needs. All in all, 3D Printing can help you get higher quality products to market faster.
Ready to take your 3D Printing relationship to the Next Level? Our DesignPoint team is passionate about building solutions that help product design, engineering and manufacturing companies maximize their potential. So let’s start building a beautiful future together – in 3D!
Ready to Learn More?
Fill out the form to your right for a demo!