After utmost consideration, you have decided to take the plunge and incorporate 3D Printing Technology into your work process. Design freedom, reduced production time and increased cost savings- the advantages of 3D printing that await you, are aplenty. However, there are 7 things that you have to keep in mind so as to maximize the full potential of 3D Printing Technology.
When selecting which 3D Printing technology and material to use, it is important that you take note of these factors:
What is the intended use of this product? Which industry will it be applicable to? Are you planning to use it as a one time, concept model or an end use product that needs to be produced in specific quantities? Depending on the application of the product, the type of 3D Printing Technology and material that is recommended will also vary. For instance, if you are intending to build aircraft parts using 3D Printing technology, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology and ULTEM 9085/ULTEM 1010 material would be ideal, due to its FST (Flame, Smoke and Toxic retardant) properties. As such, it is important that you are clear about what you hope to achieve through the creation of this product in order to accurately select the type of 3D Printing technology and material that is most suitable for you.
What must your product or part be capable of doing? Is more emphasis being placed on the visual aspects of the product? If so, perhaps you can consider using a sparse fill, which uses a minimal amount of model material, hence enabling faster production time and savings on material cost.
How reactive or stable should your part be? If it’s a medical device, it is suggested that a biocompatible material be used for maximum stability and safety.
How strong and resilient must the product or end use part be? Must it be able to withstand constant wear and tear? Different materials and different types of 3D Printing technologies possess various characteristics that cater to specific needs. For example, industrial grade thermoplastics used in FDM technology allow for the building of tough and durable parts that can withstand harsh environments.
What does the product need to look like? Is there a certain texture or design that is required? If your desired end product features a complex design, it is suggested that you make use of PolyJet Technology as it allows for the production of intricate parts and prototypes with smooth finishing. On the contrary, if your product design is simple and there is more emphasis on functionality and strength, FDM Technology would be recommended.
What is your budget and project time frame like? Depending on your budget and set deadlines, the optimal results and type of 3D Printing technology to be selected will then vary. If you have a fixed budget and need to produce a part for a certain amount, the decision you make will ultimately be influenced more by price/cost incurred than value.
What is your most important concern? Are you looking to reduce the amount of production delays? Or seeking a way to reduce overall production costs with the use of 3D Printing? It is essential that you are aware of the main aim so that you can select the type of material and 3D printing technology that fulfills your priorities.
All in all, in order to fully capitalize on the possibilities and benefits of 3D Printing technology, it is crucial that you are aware of these 7 factors and how they affect the type of 3D Printing technology and material that you should choose. It is only through gaining a better understanding of these factors that you will be able to properly integrate 3D Printing technology into your business workflow and make it work for you.