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3D Printing Speeds Up Turnaround Times to Give Your Business an Edge

Posted by Neil L
Sep 14, 2017

3D Printers Speed UpFrom designers producing mockups to engineers prototyping mechanical parts, 3D printing is opening new opportunities for all kinds of businesses.

Once the realm of science fiction, 3D printing technology has come a long way in the last few years. Rather than using ink to print text on a page, these printers create solid objects by putting them together one layer at a time.

The technology is now within reach of your average business. However, there can be a steep learning curve. You shouldn’t get your hopes up for a Star Trek-style replicator. Basic 3D printers only print in ABS or PLA plastic, with a choice of colours. Meanwhile, more advanced models print with powdered materials. They can create objects made of nylon, ceramic, metal or even glass.

Advantages of 3D printing

The advantages of 3D printing are clear for any business that needs to quickly produce detailed mockups or prototypes. Rather than drawing your ideas in 3D modelling software and then sending them away for production, you can quickly bring your designs to life and hold them in your hands.

This can significantly reduce turnaround times during product development. It helps your design team hone their ideas. It also makes it easier to show clients your progress by placing designs in their hands rather than simply showing them on the screen.

The ability to print objects in-house can also make it more practical to produce short-run custom objects or unique designs when mass production isn’t practical or cost effective. You’ll also find 3D scanners that let you transfer real-world models into the digital realm, ready to be 3D printed on demand.

Another obvious application for 3D printing is producing replacement parts on demand. This can be better than keeping a large inventory or waiting for orders to arrive. Eventually it could have a major impact on your supply chain. It could also curb transportation costs, ensuring that obscure part is always at hand when you need it.

With 3D printing opening a new world of possibilities previously beyond the reach of your average business, it’s worth considering how an in-house 3D printer might give your business a competitive edge.

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