3D Printers, also called rapid prototyping machines, have been all the rage since they took off in the early 2000s. While the printers were actually invented in 1987, newer technology has made them much more affordable for businesses.
3D printers seem like an attractive option and a high-tech addition to your office. The question is, are they really worth it?
3D Printing Doesn’t Always Match Expectations
Many people who buy 3D printers expect them to produce amazing results in a short amount of time for low costs.
The reality is, to produce truly spectacular products from a 3D printer, you need to invest a large sum of money. Anything less than $10,000 will not be able to produce high-quality goods.
On top of that, 3D printers can take hours to print out an entire product. That means that they aren’t at all as fast as you might expect.
3d Printed Products Usually Don’t Last
3D printing is great for prototyping and creating 3d models of products, but not so great for products that you want to sell. 3D printing technology works by creating high precision thin layers of material to produce an item.
Because 3D printed objects are printed layer by layer, they are not truly as strong as you might think.
The layers in 3D printing don’t bond together as well as you initially think. They look strong, but in reality, they break easily. Manufacturing traditionally produces higher quality products that hold together better.
Instead of spending time trying to find the best 3D printer out there, looking for a good additive manufacturing company to help you out might be a better choice.
Items Don’t Print Cleanly or Clearly
Products printed in 3D printers do not come out cleanly, the way manufactured products do. Again, because the printer prints in layers, the end product is not smooth on the outside.
Rough pieces of material may stick out from the printed object and need to be sanded down. Sanding or smoothing with chemicals costs more money in labor and products.
On top of that, you can’t print in multiple types of materials. If you do attempt this, the print quality of the final product quickly gets messy and develops an unclean look to it.
Can You Afford It? The Cost of 3d Printing
This was alluded to earlier, but the cost of printing is exceptionally high. Not only does the printer itself cost money, but the materials used also add up.
The materials used to print 3D objects are very expensive. Unlike in conventional manufacturing, materials are not simple raw goods that are turned into products. Instead, particular types of materials are used.
Resin is the most common material that is used for 3D printing. The cost for resin is about $50 for a pound of resin. If you buy a high-quality resin, however, you could be looking at as much $500 per pound!
Unfortunately, 3D printing also does not use economies of scale. In other words, if one item costs $1, then one hundred items cost $100. It does not get cheaper to produce the items as the volume increases.
The 3d Printing Process is Not As Simple as 1, 2, 3
3D printing sounds like it would be a piece of cake. Simply tell the printer what you’re creating and hit print!
In reality, it’s pretty complicated to get right. 3D printing uses programming called CAD. You need to understand CAD properly to be able to print objects effectively.
A lot of people try to problem solve a limited understanding of CAD by downloading 3D printing libraries online. Unfortunately, these libraries tend to come with errors and mistakes in the coding.
You’ll need to rewrite the code to print the object you are trying to produce.
There are many downsides to 3D printing, but there are many benefits to just about every other printer. CapX Solutions knows all about printers and how to fix any problem that might arise. Contact today and get started with your fully serviced printer!