If you are not yet into the 3D printing world, let’s have a look at the 5 challenges that you will face if you get in soon.
The layered printing process is laborious and takes a such a long time. The end user / customer anxiously awaits the printed prototype to play with it. From the production point of view the printer is always busy printing. Impulsive printing is not an option. So it’s important to calculate when is the best time to send a job to the printer. Maybe overnight. If you want to print a small production run, this may be a problem.
Solution: Printing speed is one of the biggest concerns where manufacturers center their development resources.
Price of printers.
The price is directly related to the printer resolution, the type of technology used and the maximum print size in volume.
Currently 3D printers are produced on a small scale and costs are still high. DIY Basic models are sold in kit for self-assembly starting at $ 300. Stating at from $400-500 you can also find (printrbot.com) assembled basic printers for private use also used in schools.
To buy a Pro 3D Printers you need to spend between $1,500 and $3,200 according to quality, size and resolution. Price comparison chart
Solution: It is expected that at any moment big printer manufacturers entry the market lowering production costs and democratizing 3D printers.
3D printing allow you to touch, feel and play a virtual design brought to reality like magic. Most printers print on 1 material / color and until now that’s pretty much enough.
The brand cubify.com produces printers that print on 2 and 3 colors adding more striking to prototypes, especially when used as a model to show to customers.
Solution: There are printers that print in 2 to 3 materials. Same happened with paper printers many years ago and we all now print in color. Near future will also bring full color to 3D printing.
Generate 3D files requires appropriate software and above all, trained and qualified personnel.
The software in itself is a significant investment although there are also free software available. View list of open source and commercial 3D software
Drawing 3D requires training and experience. Once the drawing is made, it requires also some experience to get the most out of the 3D printer.
Solution: For young engineers 3D modeling it’s a must already. It’s also an opportunity to supply professional services to match new needs.
Resolution is measured in Microns (1000µ = 1mm). The range start at 11µ for the best pro printers, around 45 µ in average and up to 200 µ for less precise printers. Resolution is linked to mechanical precision, printing speed and accordingly related to the price tag. The higher the resolution, the more time spent on printing.
Solution: Technology moves quickly to improve accuracy, resolution and lower the price. Take as example the evolution of printing paper. In the next few years we will see many improvements.
Like all emerging technologies there are leaders and followers. For the leaders, calculate short-term return of investment because technology will get faster and cheaper in the near future. For the followers, keep an eye on it because this is moving fast, so you may be left behind.
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