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What are the advantages of 3D printing?


3D printing has become increasingly democratized in the past few years and revolutionized the manufacturing process of a wide range of industries, but what can 3D Printing do exactly? How can this technology improve your manufacturing process?

If you’re looking for the essential information about 3D printing or additive manufacturing, you’re in the right place. We are going to see here what are the advantages of 3D printing and how you could, as a business, benefit from this manufacturing technique. Is 3D printing worth it for your projects?

What does 3D Printing enable?

First of all: What is 3D printing? 3D printing is not just one manufacturing method. This term regroups a lot of different manufacturing technologies and each one is adapted to different applications. One of the first steps before implementing additive manufacturing in your business is to find the perfect technology and material for you. 

FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), Binder Jetting, or SLA (Stereolithography), there are many different ways to 3D print objects. From powder-based technologies to filaments and liquid ones, you will have to find the perfect method.

3D printing enables a lot of things, from the prototyping process to the production or the tooling processes, different aspects of your business could really be optimized by the use of 3D printing. Here, we are going to see what are all the advantages of this technology for your business.

What are the advantages of 3D printing?

1 – Speed

Additive manufacturing is a great solution if you need to speed up your product development. You will get better and more efficient iterations management. Time is money, and money is precious while running a business and developing projects. Saving time and quicken your whole product development cycle.

You will be able to create your prototypes way faster. Indeed, manufacturing a prototype using 3D printing is simple: you don’t need to create mold or anything, you just need to get a 3D model of your idea and 3D print it. Instead of taking weeks, or months, this process can only take a few days! This means that if you’re not satisfied with your first part, you can make new iterations by modifying your 3D model and just print a new version.

This manufacturing technology can help to speed up both prototyping and production processes and save time.

2 – 3D printing is for everyone

Beyond the awesome stories that come in the media spotlight, 3D printing has already made a shift in the manufacturing process of various industries such as dental and hearing aides, aerospace, civil and military aeronautics, jewelry, etc. The more we work on 3D printing technology, the more we figure out that very few industries can’t benefit from 3D printing! Additive manufacturing is for everyone, all types of businesses can implement 3D printing, the key is to identify your 3D printing opportunities

3D printing is for all industries, but it can also be used by different roles inside the same company. From R&D to marketing, all services can make good use of additive manufacturing.

3 – Cost-effective

3D Printing can produce different objects without creating specific tooling or even using several tools. This is how 3D Printing helps increase flexibility in the production flow and helps to reduce industrial expenses. 

While producing small quantities, additive manufacturing can be the perfect solution: When using manufacturing techniques such as injection molding, producing small quantities is not possible or can be cost-prohibitive.

4 – Freedom of design & complexity

One of the biggest advantages of 3D printing is the freedom of design. You can recreate all your ideas to transform them into actual objects. Even the most complex geometries can be printed. While using 3D printing you will be released from restrictions imposed by traditional manufacturing. Creating a design for a layer by layer process such as 3D printing is also a bit different: a 3D design created for injection molding will not be adapted for 3D printing, for example. 

If you have any questions about the design of your part for 3D printing, or if you need help to create a design: our experts are here to help you with the design of your parts for additive manufacturing. 

5 – Customization

Mass-customization can be an advantage for numerous industries, from the medical field to the production of consumer goods. For example, additive manufacturing allows to create made to measure prosthesis or tools in the medical industry. But it can also be used to create adapted 3D printed glasses.

While using digital manufacturing, it is easy to adapt a 3D design using a 3D modeling software and print different iterations of the same product. If you need mass-customization, additive manufacturing will be the cheapest and most efficient way to create your products.

6 – More flexibility

3D printing allows more flexibility and adaptability for your business. When you need a part, you can just 3D print it. If you need to modify a part, you can also 3D print it. With an online 3D printing service such as Sculpteo, you can order the number of parts you need, there is no minimum, from 1 to 10K+ parts you only produce what you need. 

7 – A wide variety of technologies and materials

There are actually plenty of 3D printing technologies and materials available. From FDM to SLS and Binder Jetting, you will necessarily find a technology suiting your project!

In order to choose the perfect technology and material, you will have to identify your needs. Do you need to print a resistant part, a flexible part, a part resistant to heat, or a food compatible part? There are diverse factors to take into account while making your choice, but identifying exactly what your needs are will allow you to make the most of the benefits of 3D technologies!

Additive manufacturing is now offering the possibility to create parts for demanding sectors using advanced materials such as extremely resistant and rigid materials, or professional flexible plastics. It is also a way to implement more sustainable manufacturing using bio-based materials, with a series of Nylon PA11 materials. BASF and Sculpteo are combining their strengths to offer you these high-performance materials and help you go even further in your projects. Here are some examples:

Ultrasint® PA11 & MJF PA11 – These PA11 are bio-based materials, perfect to create durable parts able to withstand high mechanical loads and stress. Living-hinges, parts with high impact resistance, and skin contact certifications, these Nylon PA11 materials are offering great opportunities.

Ultrasint® PA11 CF – A 3D printing material reinforced with carbon fibers, providing advanced mechanical performance for your parts when strength and rigidity are needed. Does your project require a high strength-to-weight ratio, high impact resistance? Ultrasint® PA11 CF might be the perfect solution. 

Ultrasint® PA11 ESD – Ultrasint® PA11 ESD is a bio-derived powder material with electrostatic discharging properties for increased process safety in advanced applications. With its interesting mechanical properties, this material offers new possibilities for a wide range of new applications, especially for the electronics sector: electronic housing, jigs, fixture and tooling can be created using this advanced material.

Ultrasint® TPU88A & TPU01 – If you are looking for a resistant, flexible, and rubbery material, these TPU are perfect options. With good resilience after deformation and a high UV stability, this SLS TPU offers numerous advantages for your projects requiring an elastomeric material. 

Ultrasint® PP nat 01 & MJF PP – This advanced PP material powder is popular for a wide range of innovative applications. This 3D printing material offering strength, ductility and stiffness to manufacture your end-use parts. For example, Polypropylene can be used to 3D print interior components, dashboard parts, airflow, or fluid systems for the automotive sector. PP 3D printing material is perfect for industrial uses, from pipes to machinery.

Ultrasint® PA6 MF – Ultrasint® PA6 MF (Mineral Filled) is the material of choice for any advanced technical application where mechanically reinforced thermoplastics are needed. PA6 MF boasts extremely high rigidity, media tightness and enhanced thermal distortion performance.

Ultrasint® PA6 FR – Ultrasint® PA6 FR is an advanced engineering polymer powder for Powder Bed Fusion with an innovative formulation containing a flame-retardant (FR) additive. Combining excellent mechanical and thermal performance with flammability requirements, it is especially suitable for applications in the electronics and transportation sectors.

8 – Reduce waste

Additive manufacturing is a way to reduce waste. But, how? Simply by using 3D printing itself. During the 3D printing process, the exact amount of material is used to create the object you need, there is no waste. This is not the case with most of the traditional manufacturing techniques.

9 – Improve your supply-chain

The improvement of the supply-chain is not often the first advantage that comes to mind while thinking about the advantages of 3D printing, but it should! Indeed, this technique can become a huge advantage and help you rethink your supply-chain and your whole strategy.

3D printing is a way to improve your storage system, thanks to a digital inventory. What does digital inventory mean? This solution is simply to create your parts on-demand thanks to 3D printing. No need to store the part, you just can print them when you need them. Indeed, this cutting-edge technology is good to print low-volumes.

This could also become a way to use 3D printing to create 3D printed spare parts, which will also have a great impact on your storage system!

How can an online 3D printing service help you?

Want to start 3D printing and make the most of this cutting-edge manufacturing technique but you don’t know where to start? Maybe it’s time for you to consider using a 3D printing service online, such as Sculpteo. Our printing centers are exclusively equipped with high-performance professional 3D printers. We have several materials and different finishes are available. Our service is available to all, whether you are self-employed small business, a larger structure that is not equipped with professional 3D printers, or to individuals for their personal creative needs.

Our ambition is to offer to all the ability to manufacture objects in our factory by controlling our 3D printers directly from your desktop. 3D Printing should not be a matter of technicians: it has to be an affordable and easy way for all to produce faster and better.

Are you ready to get your parts 3D printed? Upload your 3D file directly on our online 3D printing service and get your free instant quote and place your order!

Do you need more information before placing your order? Contact our 3D printing experts, they are here to answer your questions!

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