So, what is 3D printing?
Basically, 3D printing is the process of creating a solid object from a digital file. Then that form is created, or “printed”, layer by layer using a 3D printer with various materials.
Back then the first process of 3D printing was SLA, but is now there are many 3D printing processes that are referred to broadly as “3D printing” or “additive manufacturing”. Different types of 3D printing technologies and materials are chosen depending on what type of object needs to be made.
One of the most important considerations is, of course, whether to purchase a 3D printer or send out designs for outsourcing 3D printing manufacture. Because machines are limited in what they can produce, the most important factor is obviously what a manufacturer will be printing. If needs are complicated and likely to change dramatically, then outsource 3D printing may be the best option.
Today, more companies in a variety of industries are embracing the 3D printing process as it presents many significant advantages over the more traditional manufacturing methods of subtractive manufacturing and injection molding.
3D outsourcing specific services are much more cost-effective and convenient than doing it internally without losing quality. You don’t have to bear the high costs of hiring, training, workspace and even administrative expenses. Instead, you can shift focus to the core areas of your business that will enable you to grow the business.
Outsourcing to a 3D Printing Service Means:
- Several technologies are available to choose from and make use of, such as SLA, MJF, and SLS.
- Access to more materials that are hard to arrange in-house, providing you with remarkable flexibility and versatility.
- Experts with better knowledge of materials; how to use them and their limitations.
- No-long term commitment required. Pay per part or project.
- No initial investment required.
- Manufacture larger parts easily.
- A number of projects can be submitted simultaneously as the service will have multiple machines available.
For businesses, big and small, choosing to outsource 3D printing services to professional suppliers is often the best option. Among the top five reasons are:
Although the cost of entry-level machines is decreasing, making them more affordable for most business owners, these machines remain limited in their capabilities, often offering fewer material types and a restricted build volume. If a business is going to print using in-house 3D printers, it is left with two options:
- Investing a lot of time figuring out what materials will be used in new products prior to purchase
- Investing money in several 3D printers that use different materials and/or processes.
Both of these methods are costly and inefficient. The cost of 3D printers adds up if a business purchases several machines, as does the cost of the base materials and iterations to get the desired results. Time spent investigating materials and printers also costs a business money, since it takes time away from creating, selling, and shipping products.
Outsourcing to professional 3D printing suppliers solves this problem. Most suppliers have between 5 and 10 machines on hand (although many have dozens of machines) and can match the business’ project to the correct printer and material. Thus — even though outsourcing may seem more expensive — in the long run businesses can save time and money by going to the experts with the best equipment and right materials for each job.
If constrained by time, and it is almost always faster to outsource your 3D printing. When ordering parts lead time can vary from vendor to vendor. This variability may create inventory surplus or stock-outs. Eliminate this issue by consolidating your company’s suppliers. Rather than ordering from various 3D Printing providers and receiving shipments at random, having one supplier means you have greater control over your parts.
But another major advantage for outsourcing production is reducing the lead time that it takes to get a specific kind of material. It’s impossible to design and manufacture parts when you’re unable to obtain the necessary materials. This is especially problematic if the materials are not commonly available, as lead time can be weeks or months on 3D Printing Materials. Mastars stocks multiple printing materials across our printer technologies. This way, orders can be fulfilled and shipped out as quickly as possible. You get all the benefits of 3D printing without the high cost of ownership of something that is not your core competency.
The technologies used in today’s commercial 3D printers are relatively new, and most small businesses aren’t familiar with what’s required to operate these machines for the best results. This means employee training for in-house use and maintenance will not only be required, but may also involve unforeseen training costs and time commitments. Hiring experts to train employees can also come with a hefty price tag, particularly as staff put their usual duties on hold to take part in training courses and deal with the inevitable periods of trial and error that accompany any manufacturing process.
Professional suppliers, on the other hand, already know how to use, set up, and maintain their equipment. Their hands-on experience with the manufacturing process enables them to master the tweaks and tricks necessary to properly and efficiently make — and remake — products and prototypes.
By outsourcing a firm’s 3D printing requirements, they can take advantage of a variety of technologies and materials, while also minimizing risks and constraints associated with operating a printer in-house.
Today, there are many different technologies to choose from, and each has it is pros and cons depending on the specific application. For example, the most common printing technologies today are FDM, Polyjet, Multijet, SLA, SLS.
For each technology listed above, there are numerous material options available to choose from in order to meet a specific need. For FDM alone, you can choose from ABS-ESD7, ABS-M30, Nylon 12 and many more. Check out all of our material options and specifications here. By incorporating these activities in-house, a firm may be limiting their options available to them.
Ultimately, all firms should strive to maximize their resources while still investing to provide their customers with valuable products and services. With no expensive tooling or setup costs, 3D printing can offer substantially lower unit costs for low-volume runs. Another notable benefit is that 3D printing allows firms to prototype within a matter of days. One might think that owning a 3D printer in-house may speed up their internal processes enough to justify the purchasing decision. The reality is that with the right partnership, a firm can outsource their prints and still get their parts quickly.
Your Business Will Flourish With 3D CAD Print Services!
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