3D printing is quickly growing to be 2015’s hottest forms of technology. From the automotive industry to gun manufacturing, the ability to used 3D printing across multiple industries is appealing to manufacturers. However, some still wonder if a 3D printer is a necessary purchase or luxury item. For those who are still on the fence, here are 3 reasons why 3D Printing is a must in manufacturing.
When 3D printing machines made its debut, prices ranged from 20k and above. Small to mid-size Manufacturing companies may not have had the resources for such a purchase. However, the price of 3D printers is drastically falling. Table top systems range anywhere from $300 to $9k. Since 3D printers are available at every price point, it is making them accessible to all levels of manufacturing businesses.
Owning an older machine that is still running is wonderful for your bank account. It also proves you made a great investment in a solid machine. However, one of the disadvantages to owning an older machine is having to order replacement parts. Finding replacement parts can be extremely difficult and if the part is discontinued, it can be impossible. So, do you search the internet for a new part or upgrade to a new machine? Neither, if you have a 3D printer. 3D printing allows you to create your own custom parts and tools in-house. The 3D printer can make an exact copy of a part in plastic or metal, which can be used to test in the machine, make necessary changes and move forward to production.
As soon as a product is released, it goes through a critiquing process. Engineers and designers ask, “How can we improve upon this product?” However, creating a 2.0 version used to mean a lengthy pre-production and testing phase. 3D printing allows for manufacturers to improve upon their current product line in-house. 3D printing is a flexible tool which allows engineers to correct errors and make improvements early in the design process when it’s less costly.
There are many reasons to consider buying a 3D printer. At Lyndex-Nikken, we made the choice to invest in 3D printing machine after receiving angle head requirements and tool change arm clearance requests from our customers. Since then, we have been able to shorten our clearance verification process from weeks to days. Below is a video demonstration of how we used a 3D printed Right Angle Head to get clearance for an automatic tool change.