Producing a part or prototype is a relatively inexpensive process today. Employing 3D printing instead of machining parts from scratch has moved most manufacturing processes into the fourth industrial revolution. However, there are still some considerable costs associated with 3D printing. Learn how to reduce the cost of 3D printing so that engineering professionals can move the team ahead in the production line.
1. Design From a Minimalist Perspective
Control those costs during a prototyping session with 3D Hubs, for instance, by designing with a minimalist’s approach. Create an item that doesn’t require substantial supports or overhanging sections. Any material that must be added to the item as an exterior element will cost more. The supports that must be removed after creation are outright wastes. Companies pay for the support material, but it’s ultimately discarded before putting the part into action.
2. Make it hollow
A clever way to lower costs is by choosing a hollow design. Go to the design software, and create thin walls. For example, engineers might choose 2-millimeter-thick walls to complete the product.
By forming a hollow object, the design requires fewer materials. The item remains viable for its main purpose while saving on the overall cost.
Keep in mind, however, that some parts will need to be solid. Verify the designs before choosing either option.
3. Scale the size downward
Before professionals use a 3D printing service, create a smaller version of the item in the software. Building the object at certain size on the screen was probably necessary for visual cues in the past. It may not be necessary to create the item as-is, however.
It’s possible to scale the object down by 50 percent. The smaller item is now cheaper to produce without compromising on quality. Make more of these parts to see profits rise.
4. Consider the finishing process
Once a 3D printing session ends, there may be additional costs in post-processing. You might request sanding, cleaning or polishing for the items. The labor and time involved with the post-processing will increase the cost of the service.
Think about the need for finishing in the first place. Some parts don’t have to look like retail-ready products, for example. Look over the design, and verify if the finishing touches are necessary. The cost will drop dramatically in some cases.
5. Try a different material
A 3D printing service doesn’t require exclusive material. There are usually at least two materials available for printing, such as:
- SLS powder
- SLA resin
- FDM filaments
The resin and powder tend to be more expensive than the filaments. Additionally, the materials have their advantages and drawbacks.
As you decide on the costs for a 3DP session, ask if the low-cost materials will work for the creation. Curbing costs will be the result.
Partner with 3D Hubs to see those creations come to life. Our outstanding service takes engineering designs and builds them into tangible objects. Move with the rhythm of the time with our 3D printing services. The future will be built on those innovations.