How to Stretch Your Dollar in Manufacturing with 3D Printing

By Tommy DuPuy on

Throughout your design cycle, there are several ways that additive manufacturing can save you time and money. More specifically, in this blog we show how you can stretch your dollar in manufacturing with 3D printing.

Applying 3D Printing to Your Design Cycle

The typical design cycle goes from idea/concept to CAD design to prototyping and optimization to product testing, and once approved, to manufacturing (See image below). So, where does 3D printing play a role in this? Let’s take a look.

Design Cycle

Ideas/Concepts ➔ CAD Designs

Every product starts at the drawing board, where your ideas are still sketched onto napkins, and to make these concepts come to life you use a 3D CAD software such as SOLIDWORKS. Here, the CAD models you design can be turned into working files.

CAD Designs ➔ Prototyping

The workable files you create in your CAD software allow you to prototype parts by means of subtractive manufacturing or additive manufacturing. In order for 3D printing to save you time and money, it’s important you choose a printer with the best toolset for your applications.

For example with Stratasys, FDM Technology uses real engineer-grade thermoplastics with high accuracy, repeatability and durability while PolyJet Technology is known for adding fine features and details with versatile materials.

Prototyping ➔ Product Evaluation

Additive manufacturing prototypes help companies accomplish the four C’s: creativity, compression of time, cost of error and confidentiality. By being able to verify concepts (form testing), verify designs (fit testing) and test functional performance (function testing), prototypes greatly contribute to part optimization.

Product Evaluation ➔ Manufacturing

Optimization and product evaluation are two of the most time-consuming and expensive stages in the design cycle. But with 3D printing, you can easily and cheaply make modifications and redesigns until you get the desired results. This allows for freedom of creativity, quicker iterations, cheaper materials and confidentiality during development.

How This Can Save You Money in Manufacturing?

3D printing accelerates traditional manufacturing processes and production, reducing delivery times, cost of production AND product quality. Whether you are applying this to injection molding, jigs and fixtures, tooling or end-use parts, 3D printing offers benefits in all areas of manufacturing.

For more on stretching your dollar in manufacturing with 3D printing, click here or watch our full on-demand webinar below.

Ready to invest in a 3D printer but not sure which one? Download our Entry-Level 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide.