3D printers are an excellent choice for manufacturers. Here’s a look at why we love 3D metal printing.
Now and then, a new technology disrupts the way things are done. 3D printers for manufacturers is one such technology. The invention of the 3D printer has made it possible for manufacturers across industries to create complex parts quickly and effortlessly. Various types of plastic and metal raw materials can be used in 3D printing to make prototypes, product models, and even final products. Here’s a look at our four reasons to love 3D metal printing.
1. 3D metal printing is eco-friendly
Traditional manufacturing methods make use of a subtractive manufacturing process. The process starts with a block or bar of material. Parts are created by boring, cutting, grinding, or drilling to remove extra material from the original block. Unfortunately, manufacturers cannot reuse the wasted material. For example, airplane manufacturers who use traditional manufacturing processes can discard as much as 90% of material that cannot be used in the future.
3D printers make use of an additive manufacturing process. The process adds instead of subtracting raw material. Metal parts are built by depositing the material (supplied as a fine powder), layer by layer, as per digital 3D design data. The additive manufacturing process makes use of only as much material that is required to create a part. As a result, there is minimal wastage (on average, 5% of material wastage compared to 90% material wastage by traditional manufacturing processes). That makes 3D printers an excellent choice for manufacturers.
2. 3D printers can create complex parts
Need to create unique or complex structures that are strong but also lightweight? Traditional manufacturing processes cannot do that easily. There are several design restrictions. So, multiple separate metal parts will need to be created and then put together. As well as that, the more complicated a part, the more expensive it is to make. Plus, the entire process is cumbersome and time-consuming. Another problem is the wastage of material.
With a 3D printer, manufacturers can now create highly complex metal parts easily and quickly. There are no design restrictions.
Instead of creating multiple parts and then putting them together to create one complex structure, manufacturers can use 3D printers to make a single, complex metal piece. Another advantage – there is no wastage of material.
3. 3D printers make use of a single-step process
Traditional manufacturing is complicated and includes multiple processes and multiple machines for injection molding, machining, forming, and joining.
3D printing is a single-step manufacturing process. That saves manufacturers time and costs associated with having to use multiple machines. You can set up a 3D printer and get the work done without operators on the floor during the entire production time.
3D printing is a hand-off process that uses a computer numerical control (CNC) machine – a machine that is operated or controlled by a computer. The manufacturer gives the CNC machine a CAD file, and the machine undergoes a series of operations to create the design. That means, by simply pressing a button, you can create a metal part that you design.
Do you need to make changes to your design? Simply complete the necessary changes on your computer and then reprint the design.
4. A 3D printer for manufacturers offers a cost-effective solution
Let’s be honest. Costs are an essential consideration when manufacturing components. Creating even a simple prototype using a conventional method of manufacturing can be expensive. Then there is the cost of producing large volumes of a part. While traditional fabrication methods like injection molding and casting get cheaper with manufacturing increased volumes, manufacturing low or medium volumes by these methods can be very expensive to implement.
3D metal printing makes use of automated processes that incur almost no overhead costs, making it a cheaper option. It does not cost much more to create one part or 100 parts. So, some traditional manufacturing processes might be more affordable to manufacture high volumes of metal parts. But 3D metal printing is the ideal cost-effective solution to create low and medium volumes of metal parts and rapid prototyping.
3D printers for manufacturers make use of an additive process, and there is no material wasted. So, you can save material and, therefore, reduce costs.
Finally, it is possible to create complex and intricate shapes at no additional cost. There is no doubt that a 3D printer is a boon for manufacturers. Not only is metal 3D printing a massive cost-saving solution, but it also saves an immense amount of time. It has fantastic material-saving benefits and does away with all the complexity associated with traditional manufacturing processes – and these are our reasons to love 3D metal printing.
DesignPoint is made up of a qualified team of experienced engineering professionals who specialize in providing complete 3D software and hardware solutions for engineers.