So You Want To Manufacture Something?
3D printing is a pretty neat form of manufacturing technology in my opinion. This technology gives its users the capabilities to manufacture pretty much whatever they’d like to manufacture. When it comes down to having a product created for an individual, rather than a large group – 3D printing and machining are typically considered.
Machining is a great way to create some parts. When a piece needs to be custom, it isn’t a bad deal to try using that technology. However, there are a few limitations to using machining methods. There are some issues when it comes down to actually creating pieces. Through machining methods, a block of material is used. A drill bit of some kind will typically come down to remove parts of material from that block. The down side to material removal processes is that certain things can’t be created. Very intricate pieces are difficult to be manufactured, as engineers will be saying “A drill bit can’t fit there” and a piece won’t be able to be made. On the other hand, 3D printing has the power to create some very nice pieces, even if they are intricate.
Through 3D printing, parts are created layer by layer, instead of through a material removal process. This consists of laying down layers of material on top of previous layers to form final pieces. The good thing about this is that engineers and manufacturing facilities don’t have to worry about a drill bit being able to fit in some areas. Of course not EVERYTHING can be made, however there is a pretty solid allocation of designs that can be made. If a design can be created on the computer, it can likely be manufactured through 3D printing processes. Depending on your type of model, there is probably an option for what you could use. There are likely materials out there that suit your needs. Also, there are a few options when it comes down to determining HOW a piece will be printed. In addition, there are quite a few machines, or 3D printers to choose from when it comes down to actually producing the piece. The material variety is also very impressive to think about.
When you’re considering creating a piece through 3D printing, one of the best options for this category would be the wide availability and variety of materials. There is a material for pretty much anything. Some materials are mechanical metals, such as titanium, Inconel, stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum. There are also precious metals to choose from, including, gold, silver, platinum, and fine silver. Of course plastics hold a strong portion of the 3D printing market, as ABS plastic and PLA plastics can be pretty inexpensive. The options are pretty endless when it comes to actually making a print.
If you truly want to produce your own part or product, you need to do a couple things. First, you’ll need to create the design. After you find the design, you’ll get ahold of a manufacturing facility that uses 3D printing. After that process, you’ll need to tell the facility what you’re looking for, and they can consult with you on your options.