3D printing technology is nearly ubiquitous and it’s benefits to an organization are well documented. However, it may not be in your organization’s best interest to invest in bringing the technologies and capabilities in-house. While it’s true that 3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, certainly not all facilities can, or should, build everything in-house.
You know that you want to begin 3D printing to speed up your time-to-market and improve your value chain, but with the high upfront costs of printers and the near-constant innovation happening in the field, you might be wondering how to get all the benefits quickly. Many companies, including Fortune 500 companies, have chosen to outsource their 3D printing needs to an expert to expand capabilities and maximize resources.
At 3 Space, we pride ourselves on knowing the latest developments in 3D printing technologies and practices to provide expert advice and service to our customers.
1. Expanded Capabilities
By outsourcing a firm’s 3D printing requirements, they can take advantage of a variety of technologies and materials, while also minimizing risks and constraints associated with operating a printer in-house.
TECHNOLOGIES: Today, their are many different technologies to choose from, and each has it’s pros and cons depending on the specific application. For example, the most common printing technologies today are FDM, Polyjet, Multijet, SLA, SLS, and CLIP printing.
MATERIALS: For each technology listed above, there are numerous material options available to choose from in order to meet a specific need. For FDM alone, you can choose from ABS-ESD7, ABS-M30, Nylon 12 and many more. Check out all of our material options and specifications here. By incorporating these activities in-house, a firm may be limiting their options available to them.
RISKS & CONSTRAINTS: There are a number of risks associated with operating a 3D printer in-house. Just like any other piece of equipment, it will need to have regular maintenance and troubleshooting to maintain its proper working state. These activities can often distract from and cause delays in rapid prototyping. Lastly, firms commonly find that the affordable office 3D printers do not offer a big enough build chamber for their larger parts. Industrial-grade 3D printers can cost upward of $200,000, and they are often required when printing parts over 10 inches.
2. Maximize Resources
Ultimately, all firms should strive to maximize their resources while still investing to provide their customers with valuable products and services. With no expensive tooling or setup costs, 3D printing can offer substantially lower unit costs for low volume runs. Another notable benefit is that 3D printing allows firms to prototype within a matter of days. One might think that owning a 3D printer in-house may speed up their internal processes enough to justify the purchasing decision. The reality is that with the right partnership, a firm can outsource their prints and still get their parts quickly.
Furthermore, the decision to purchase a 3D printer could be counterproductive from a cost benefit perspective. Take a look at our breakdown of the total estimated cost of owning and managing an in-house 3D printer over the course of 3 years. Feeling sticker shock? Contact us to start an outsourcing partnership today.
3. Leave It To The Experts
In few cases, it may be economically viable for even a large company to bring industrial 3D printers in-house, but most small and mid-sized businesses are much better served through outsourcing their 3D printing needs to experts in the field. At 3 Space, we only use industrial-grade, state-of-the-art 3D printers to provide our customers with the best options available. Our experts will help you quickly pick the correct technology and material for your applications, as well as assist with design guidelines for 3D printing. We value creating relationships with our customers and work to marginalize any and all additional costs. Whether you just need a single 3D printed prototype, or are interested in learning more about low-volume production with 3D printing, 3 Space has the expertise and capabilities to meet your needs.