The Benefits of 3D Printing Prototype Products

Around 55% of manufacturers prefer 3D printing for products, mainly due to its low costs.

There's a wide range of prototyping methods available these days. 3D is one of the more recent ones, and it comes with a range of advantages. 3D printing a prototype might not seem necessary, but your company can gain a lot from adopting this method.

For some of the key benefits of 3D prototyping, keep reading.

Design Customization

When prototyping a product the design isn't finalized, so there may be a lot of specific design choices you want to make. 3D printing software allows you to customize every detail of a product through CAD (computer-aided design).

It's a simple process that involves designing the product with CAD software and then uploading the design file to a 3D printer. This makes any later revisions and adjustments incredibly easy. You can even produce several slightly different designs and test them at the same time.

Speed

Using a 3D printer is one of the fastest prototyping methods available. Once a design is finished it can be immediately uploaded and printed, so you can move from the design stage to the testing stage very quickly.

This will help you get to your final product much faster than traditional prototyping methods. Getting products finalized faster means you can get them out to users and quickly move on to newer projects.

Reduced Waste

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing. This simply means that materials are added to form the product. Many other types of prototyping use subtractive manufacturing, which involves the removal of material from a part to make the product.

3D printing models, therefore, produces less waste than many other methods. This means less raw materials are sourced and less waste ends up in landfills. Environmental awareness is very important for businesses these days, so 3D prototyping is one way your company can reduce its impact on the environment.

Ease of Replication

You might want to produce multiple prototypes of the same product for a range of reasons. When a prototype design file is uploaded to a 3D printer you can generate the product as many times as are needed with ease.

All of these prototypes will have the same dimensions, allowing you to run various tests on the same product.

Durable Products

A range of materials can be used for 3D printing. Sometimes you may choose a material simply based on a cost factor, or for others, it may be due to the properties of a given material.

A common choice is polymer. The 3D printer heats the polymer to melt it, and then pushes it through a nozzle head, building the prototype. The finished part is left to dry, and will ultimately be very strong while remaining cost-effective.

Print on Demand

You might have many products that you're in the prototyping stage for. The CAD files for all of these can be stored on your system, and then you can print out any prototypes as and when they're needed. If you need to test a certain item unexpectedly, you won't have to wait for an outside manufacturer to get it to you.

Material Options

Aside from polymer, there are plenty of other materials to choose from. While some are more common than others, you may have specific requirements that determine the material you use for a specific prototype.

Plastics are common for 3D printed toys as they're available in a range of colours. It also produces firm, flexible, smooth products, so is ideal for a range of uses.

Some higher-end printers can use powders such as polyamide and alumide. These are suitable for highly detailed prototypes and can provide both strength and flexibility.

Resins are a less common choice as they're somewhat limited in terms of strength and flexibility. They're mostly used when appearance is a factor. Resins give smooth finishes and can be transparent if needed.

After plastics the most popular 3D printing material are metals. Jewellers, for example, can benefit from this as they can print large quantities of parts quickly without 

Reduced Costs

While 3D printers do carry an initial investment, the cost of 3D prototyping is generally quite low. Money is saved on printing models, revising designs, and all the time saved throughout the process.

It takes very little time (and therefore little money) to make any changes to designs. You also won't need to worry about tool costs. It won't be long before your 3D printer has paid for itself, and then you can continue to make savings.

Improved Workflow

The more processes you keep in-house, the smoother the workflow of your business will be. Printing prototypes yourself allows you to better optimize both designing and testing.

Your design department won't have to rely on an outside company for manufacturing prototypes, so they can come up with solutions faster. This all helps with speeding up the entire prototyping process.

Better Testing and Freedom

The time and money saved with 3D prototyping give you more opportunities to create. Optimized testing means real-time fixing, so any problems that arise will barely slow things down.

With improved testing, you can run more iterations of a product to get a better idea of the good and bad aspects of a design. This will ultimately lead to better final products and improved customer satisfaction.

3D Printing Your Prototype

JaQuba3D is a leading supplier of 3D printers. We have a range of 3D printing solutions to meet the needs of any company. We also have a range of materials and accessories available, and you can even spread the cost across multiple interest-free instalments.

If you have any questions about 3D printing a prototype or what we have to offer click here to contact us today.

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