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How 3D Tools Can Benefit Your Operations

May 11, 2022

There are a number of tools on the market that can improve or simplify your business operations. 3D tools aren’t completely new, but they are growing as an important tool for developing prototypes for those in the manufacturing industry in a wide variety of industries. There are some things that injection molding, machining and metal stamping machines just can’t do and 3D printing can definitely help with that.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of producing a solid object in three dimensions from a digital CAD file. It completes this task by using a machine to lay down or “print” a very thin layer of material, either in plastic or metal, multiple times until it produces a three-dimensional part.

For simplicity's sake, 3D printing plastic is much like an inkjet printer without the ink but with a tiny hot glue gun in its place. It is controlled by a computer with CAD software that squirts out a thin layer of plastic as it prints. The result is a prototype form you’ve created as a hot molten plastic that cools to a hard plastic. 

3D printing metal is much the same but instead of a hot glue gun, think of it as a “laser” (insert Dr. Evil air quotes here), that melts a layer of powdered metal on a tray to form a solid metal layer. There are also other materials available to be used for 3D printing depending on your needs.

How can 3D printing benefit your business?

People respond better when they can feel things and see exactly how they work in the environment they are supposed to be in. If you are using 3D-printed models in your operations, your team or customers don’t have to imagine what a finished product will be like. They can actually touch and utilize the 3D printed model in a way that gives function to the form. 

This helps get your product to market quicker and you don’t have to spend months developing complicated prototypes or drawing out elaborate detail prints. You simply print and go. It is a cost-effective way to further your development of a product and get it to market at a rate of approximately 30-50% quicker. 3D printers can print your model in as quick as a few hours to a few days.

Industries that can benefit from 3D printing services include:

  • Medical devices
  • Automotive Performance Aftermarket
  • Agriculture and Farming Equipment
  • Industrial Controls
  • High Tech Electronics
  • Hardware
  • Machinery
  • Manufacturing
  • Robotics 

There are a number of post-production processes that can also be undertaken to get your prototype to a finished state, including removing print supports and excess materials, washing, curing, sanding/polishing and painting or colouring.

What are the pros of 3D printing?

Compared to traditional manufacturing methods 3D printing has many advantages. These include:

  • Flexible design - can do what injection molding can’t do
  • Rapid prototyping - can quickly and accurately print a model and have a sample on your desk in a short amount of time
  • Print on demand - no need for space to hold stock inventory
  • Strong, yet lightweight, depending on the material used
  •  A wide variety of materials can be used to customize your product
  • Little or no waste - makes it environmentally friendly
  • Ease of access - many companies are available to do the printing for you so you don’t have to purchase a printer

How can Kingstec help?

Kingstec’s clients have used 3D printing and modelling from the concept to the development phase, so the possibilities are truly endless for what you can do in your business. We can assist with the DFM (design for manufacturing) process and help get you setup to 3D print your model to fast track your development and quickly bring your project to life.

Please fill out the form below to learn more about how 3D printing and modelling can help your operations.

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