At OmniFab, we aim to look for ways to help our customers marry new technologies with their company goals to gain competitive advantage which leads to success in their industry. 3D printing technology as it brings with it a whole new wave of flexibility and efficiency advantages for various manufacturing industries.
What is 3D Printing?
• 3D printing is sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing, is a process of making a three dimensional solid object from a digital file.
• The object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is formed.
• This is in contrast to subtractive manufacturing processes where material is removed, like milling and turning.
Advantages of 3D Printing in Manufacturing
- One of the key advantages of 3D Printing is the ability to quickly produce components compared to other conventional methods of prototyping and manufacturing.
- As such, 3D printing during product development is sometimes referred to as rapid prototyping.
- 3D printing prices are a fraction of the cost of conventional model making.
- 3D Printing means high quality prototyping is possible without having to learn or buy-in a range of increasing rare and expensive conventional modelling skills.
- Very complicated geometry and shapes can be printed, which couldn’t be produced by conventional manufacturing processes.
- For the design engineer, this means they are free to design for the optimum ideal form, rather than having to compromise the design so it fits conventional production methods.
- Furthermore, multiple part assemblies can be printed in one go. Support material is removed afterwards enabling parts to move and interact as designed.
4. LESS WASTE / SUSTAINABILITY
- The very nature of additive manufacture means there is very little waste.
- Layers are only printed where they are needed, to the exact shape you have designed.
- Minimum waste makes this a low cost, sustainable production method.
5. REDUCTION IN MANUFACTURING ERRORS
- It enables engineers to refine and prove-out designs, before committing to costly manufacturing and production tooling.
6. EASE OF USE
- 3D printing is also quick to learn and plenty of help exists.
- Only entry level skills and knowledge are required. All you need to start is a 3D CAD model.
- 3D printed parts can be surface finished and painted as well as drilled, tapped and sanded down – all ideal for presentation purposes.