What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is a kind of additive manufacturing process that can be used for creating three-dimensional solid or physical objects. The process is carried out with the help of a digital design and 3D printing software.

Here, you need to lay down thin layers of material and combine them to form an object. The materials used can be either in powdered or liquid form and may be metal, plastic, or cement.

The speed of 3D printing is too slow to be used for mass production. However, it is very powerful when it comes to developing prototypes of devices and parts. It can effectively reduce the lead time of production and is very beneficial for small-scale manufacturers.

In this article, we will help you to understand its major benefits and in what way industries use it to boost their business growth.

Benefits of 3D Printing

ere are the top advantages of 3D printing for both individuals and businesses. We have covered every benefit, starting from printing concept models to developing end-user parts.

  • Reducing machine costs

    3D printing technology helps to bring down the overall product manufacturing cost. Especially when it comes to labor, machine, transit, or materials.

    With its help, you can develop complex parts or components in only one step by deploying fewer machines. Even the 3d printers use less energy as compared to large molding machines.

  • Controlling labor charges

    Hiring more people is not required in additive manufacturing. Only a single operator can run the fully automated 3D printer and save labor costs.

    Apart from this, there is no need to ship products from one country to another or a far-off destination. Instead, you can email the 3d print-ready designs to the desired location.

  • Accelerating the design process

    It is well-known for its rapid prototyping feature. It means you don’t have to spend weeks creating the prototype. Also, you need not have to go through multiple revisions before finalizing the design.

    However, if the situation arises, then you can make the required modifications easily. For this, you do not have to delay the manufacturing process.

  • Less wastage

    Additive manufacturing technology results in producing very little waste as compared to the traditional methods. It is due to the 3D printers, which only use the required amount of material for giving physical shape to the printed model.

    Even if waste is generated, the same can be melted and cooled down for reuse.

  • Reducing storage space

    In traditional manufacturing, it was essential to create parts in bulk to store them for later use. However, in the case of 3D printing, it is not needed.

    Three-dimensional printing eliminates the tension of overproduction or extending storage space. It is because the products take less time for creation. So, you can develop them only at the time of requirement.

  • Design flexibility

    Another advantage of 3D printing is that you can use it to create any shape or design. This can be done with the help of minimal software and tools. Also, it may or may not require any modifications in the physical equipment.

    On the other hand, the traditional methods need more tools, jig, mold, die, etc. while creating the machine parts.

  • Product longevity and sustainability

    We have already discussed 3D printing consumes less energy and produces less waste. It is one of the reasons why it lasts longer and is highly sustainable.

    Apart from this, the materials used here are recyclable, hence environment-friendly. Also, the products developed are lightweight and can be customized with the highest precision.

  • Diversified use of raw materials

    Combining diversified raw materials is another part of manufacturing. It involves huge expenses and can be a little difficult to achieve traditionally.

    However, 3D printing overcomes those limitations. It allows access to mix various materials, which can be used by different industries to serve multiple purposes.

  • Optimizing time

    With 3D printing, you can manufacture products significantly quicker than the traditional methods. This can save a lot of time. You only have to develop the CAD models, after which any complex shape can be printed quickly.

    In this method, there is no need for lengthy prototyping. Here, designs can be tested and verified within a short span.

  • Gaining competitive edge

    Using this technology, you can accurately demonstrate the product models to the clients without the fear of miscommunication. It also enables you to carry out cost-effective testing of the products. It will help them to get acceptance in the market.

    Furthermore, you can customize it to enhance its uniqueness and give it a competitive edge.

  • Eliminating errors

    Having more steps is very common in conventional methods. It can add the risk of getting errors. It is because there might be a possibility to miss out on a step in between.

    But, in 3D printing, products can be manufactured in a single step along with quick verification of designs. It results in the error-free creation of products and parts.

  • Mitigating risks

    The technology also provides designers with the advantage of risk mitigation in manufacturing. It means that they can verify the design of the product prototype before investing in high-priced manufacturing tools, jigs, or molds.

    This eventually saves their time, money, and efforts while boosting their confidence to invest in large projects.

  • Safeguarding intellectual property

    Project confidentiality won't be a problem when it comes to additive manufacturing. Here, your designs cannot be stolen or claimed by third-party users.

    It is because the 3D printers will be undergoing continuous prototyping or manufacturing work. It will ensure that they won't leave the company and hence, designs will remain in-house.

  • Freedom of customizing

    Freedom of design customization is another point that makes the technology reliable. Many industries have embraced this concept to produce customized parts and components of the products.

    It helps shape the proof of concept and provides endless possibilities to develop new ideas.

  • Ensuring high customer satisfaction

    Customer satisfaction is highly important for the success of any business. As you can deliver the products as per their exact demands, they will remain satisfied with your brand.

    Besides, staying ahead of the competition and quick manufacturing of products at a cheaper rate will also help in increasing their satisfaction levels.

    Bonus read: How to Prepare Your Model for Flawless 3D Printing?

3D Printing Application in Different Industries

There are endless possibilities of 3D printing for different industrial applications when it comes to the development and manufacturing of products. However, its uses may vary across multiple sectors depending upon the requirement and business type.

  • Education

    Many schools are incorporating 3D printing technology to modernize the classroom environment. It helps in improving the learning experience of students.

    Educators are now installing desktop 3D printers which come with several lesson plans related to mathematics, science, art, technology, and engineering.

    Also, they can create visual aids to bring the concept to life. This becomes more engaging and easier to understand for the students.

  • Medical

    The medical industry also leverages the potential of additive manufacturing for various purposes. Different medical devices such as prosthetics, implants, or medical aids can be created as per the needs of the patient.

    Human organs are also 3D printed with the highest precision. It is used for practice before operating on the patients. Apart from this, 3d medical animation is implemented in the learning courses or materials.

  • Defense

    In the defense industry, timing and accuracy are very important. that is why 3D printing is highly preferred here. Using this technology, highly complex parts can be produced in small batches at an affordable price.

    It can be used for designing and manufacturing various projects like jet engine parts, drones, submarine hulls, grenade launchers, guns, and more. It can also help soldiers to create medications for using it in the location.

  • Architecture

    Various architects and architectural design firms incorporate the technology of additive manufacturing in their projects. It can be used for effective CAD 3D modeling of their property spaces.

    With its help, they can create the designs of any building structure with great accuracy and detail. The technology also eliminates the risk of manual error.

    Besides, engineers can gain full access to the 3D print-ready models for testing new materials and designs.

  • Fashion & Accessories

    Fashion designers creatively use 3D printing technology to create extravagant and complex designs. These designs were not possible earlier with traditional methods.

    With 3D scanning and printing, fashion companies can customize various products like jewelry, shoes, dresses, watch, bags, hats, embellishments, and more. They usually do it by combining a wide range of materials while maintaining flexibility.

  • Gaming

    Players can make the most out of 3D printers for improving the overall functionality of the games. They can use it to create engaging physical models of the game characters.

    Besides, fixing controllers, replacing console parts, including realistic features or elements, and adding setup enhancements are now a lot easier with modular printing. It eliminates the need for purchasing new items, thereby saving huge expenses.

  • Automotive

    The automakers mainly use 3D printing for designing end-products that are functional, durable, lightweight, and resistant to external forces. Apart from this, it can be used to create product development cycles in the fastest and cost-efficient way.

    As per the recent customer demands, automobile manufacturers also created environment-friendly vehicles that consume less energy and resources through proper design, testing, and validation.

  • Manufacturing

    There are unlimited benefits of 3D printing in the manufacturing industry. Here, the technology can be used for streamlining the production process, setting up complex machine tools and components, assuring high-quality materials, and eliminating variations during fitting and assembly.

    Also, the scope of human errors is minimal. So, manufactured products can be quickly sent to the market as compared to traditional methods.

  • Entertainment

    3D printing technology has revolutionized the way the entertainment industry works. Various set/prop designers, filmmakers, and producers rely on rapid prototyping and small-batch production to create exciting sets, props, costumes, or characters for using it in movies, documentaries, music videos, etc. It successfully helps to transform their fantasy into reality while saving time and expense during the production process.

  • Art & Design

    Various artists and professionals have overcome the limitations of art and design to unleash their creativity with the help of 3D printing. It is even possible to draw the designs with their hands and incorporate different 3D print materials like glass, metal, plastic, ceramics, etc. as per their needs. Apart from this, there are infinite possibilities for designing and easy replication of different artworks and styles while maintaining flawlessness and accuracy.

  • Marketing

    Advertisements and product demonstrations have become easier and cheaper with 3D printing. You can use it to create amazing designs and logo prints with extreme detailing to attract potential and existing customers. Apart from this, it can also help print advertisers, marketing firms, and manufacturers to reproduce and display their old products, marketing collaterals, business materials, and more for bringing new clients and customers.

  • Food

    3D printed food can be utilized for a wide range of options to provide a more customized and on-demand eating experience for the consumers. Food printers can help in determining the exact quantity of food required so that there will be less wastage and sustainability will be promoted. Apart from this, it can save a lot of time and effort while experimenting with new dishes by customizing the ingredients and nutritional factors of the food.

  • Space Technology

    Space-related products like rockets or satellites are very costly to produce. However, with additive manufacturing, the cost can be reduced to a larger extent. It can be used for producing lightweight and strong equipment that can be used for space exploration. Prototypes of food products or medicines can also be developed which can be used by astronauts. Besides, spare parts and replacements can also be designed and tested to ensure feasibility.

  • Aircraft

    The aircraft or aviation industry can also be benefited by incorporating 3D printing technology. Various structural parts and high fidelity models are being 3D printed in plastic, metal, titanium, and other advanced composite materials for rapid prototyping and saving the production costs of planes. Besides, it can boost the creativity of aircraft manufacturers to design future aircraft that are durable, lightweight, and have improved fuel efficiency.

  • Manual Transportaion

    The traditional manufacturing technique is usually expensive. It requires more labor to develop human-powered vehicles, i.e., carbon fiber bikes.

    However, with 3D printing, the need for a mold manufacturing method is eliminated while creating those vehicles.

    Apart from this, various components, spare parts, accessories, or the whole vehicle can be easily developed by selecting the specific design, material, or technical elements.

3D printing is bringing constant evolution in multiple industry sectors. With its help, you can significantly lower your production costs, storage-related expenses, and other overheads. Besides, manual intervention can also be lessened while eliminating potential errors. Thus, by fine-tuning this technology, you can get more robust and versatile results for various applications.

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Sushmita Roy   linkedin   instagram   twitter

A seasoned 3D professional with a creative focused, and a knack for diverse 3D designs, software and the technology. She's associated with ThePro3DStudio for long enough to prove her mettle and make every 3D projects successful. When she’s not busy working for a new project, she shares valuable insights from her own experience.