3D printing is a rapid, much cheaper way of building concept/prototype models and is to the design world the equivalent of a laser printer in a normal office environment with its adoption growing rapidly along with the unprecedented growth of three dimensional CAD solid modelling.
This method of printing is complementary to the more conventional rapid prototyping (RP) process because it has substantial cost benefits. Both conventional rapid prototyping and three-dimensional printing techniques generate the models layer by layer from STL info, but they can be very important when you consider the cost differential per component between the two methods. Including content, capital expenditure, machine maintenance and manpower, a component designed using RP technology will cost almost twice as much as 3-dimensional printing.must read article
Owing to their greater capital cost RP systems are mostly situated centrally with a dedicated personnel role equivalent to an in-house operation bureau. 3D printers on the other hand are, more accessible, smaller and ideal for deployment near an end user, also on their desk, offering flexibility and ease of usage that avoids “departmental delay.”
Traditionally enlisting a service provider to create prototype parts will entail a not inconsiderable element of confidence due to the sharing of client proprietary STL details. Turnaround period is another field for concern which relies on the size which consistency of the STL file and the capability of the service provider. Time delays are compounded often due to product development underlying iterative cycle requiring several loops and are further complicated by including a third party..
While there are several factors when matching service provider costs with internal 3D product printing costs when drawing together a business strategy, a organization routinely shipping parts to an external bureau might, by contrast, support the outlay on a 3D printer in a couple of months and in the meantime retain power and secrecy internally.
Studies suggest that a commodity which is delayed by six months to market would theoretically lose up to 33 percent of its gross profit output. To this end phase periods are quickly getting more compact and accelerated. 3D printing will be influential in compressing design development times by allowing greater coordination and cooperation with those involved in the project. In a environment where pace to market is an necessity 3D printing may have the major competitive edge the goods require.