3D printing has arrived and is not going away and will speed up your prototyping and production processes considerably. Yet many people still hold onto older ways of prototyping hat are costlier and time consuming. A great deal of this is because 3D printing is still so new and has not yet made it into our though process as a technology. The challenge is not the technology but our thought habits / patterns. People are hesitant to try what’s new, especially when old processes still work in ways they’re used to. Here are just a few ways 3D printing should be considered.
1. SPEED – You can print a concept the moment you finish a design there is a lot of power in that statement. Development processes that once took months can now be concluded in days and as we all know in today’s very competitive market time is money. This shrinks the window in which competition can jump ahead of you, and accelerates your ability to respond to shifting landscapes in your industry. Most importantly, it closes the gap between the development times of small and large businesses.
2. COST – Injection molds and production runs can be expensive to operate, maintain, and fix. Certainly, 3D printers can’t replace everything an injection mold can do for a company, but they can replace many functions at far lesser costs. Tools and parts can be created with lower overhead and on a much more specific basis than injection molds are capable of achieving.
3. TEST – When you will rely on a molding tool for a production run, 3D printers allow you to run the kinks out of your designs before you invest in what could become a faulty production mold. This allows you to iron out any flaws and inefficiencies before committing a large cost to the mold itself. You have the time to assess, test, and redesign. It’s a much less expensive way of prototyping for production runs that will require molds.
4. PROFIT – Market potential is often overlooked when someone is producing a new concept. With 3D printing, you can physically show your product off to investors and raise capital off the prototype before fully committing to a production run. This way, you can take feedback into account and make adjustments to your idea that will help it sell better. With 3D printing, you’ll appreciate that you invested only in the prototypes you need rather than being stuck with a 1,000-count production run or a useless production mold you need to off-load at a loss because the design’s changed.
Allow 3D printing to become part of your business practices and thought patterns. 3D printing allows you to be much more specific and exact in your development, design, and production processes. it lends small businesses much of the flexibility that larger ones enjoy.