Three-dimensional (3D) Printing is frequently seen as a complement to CNC machining. Unlike CNC machining, which employs computerized instructions to subtract material until the final part is shaped, 3D printing constructs parts by progressively adding layers to form the object.
3D printing uses a type of technology called additive manufacturing, while CNC machining is a form of subtractive manufacturing.
Today, 3D printing is very prevalent. This is chiefly due to its cost-savings, speed, and availability; 3D printers are widely available in both small and large sizes. 3D printers allow direct printing of a finished product straight from a computer model. And while it is doubtful to replace CNC machines and other traditional manufacturing methods, it may become a staple in most small and medium businesses. Rapid prototyping will greatly benefit from 3D printers, enabling product designers to make better selections when determining the most suitable manufacturing procedure for their needs. Understanding the advantages of 3D printing plays a crucial role in this decision-making process.
The speed at which additive manufacturing can produce end-use parts is often far superior to traditional machining techniques. In only a matter of hours, simply imputting a 3D CAD model can transform the product’s designs from ordinary digital models to real-life tangible products.
Where traditional machining will deliver a prototype in days or weeks at times, 3D printing will deliver prototypes and physical iterations in hours. The extensive benefits of the speed of additive manufacturing are mostly felt when producing functional low-mid volume quantities. The speed of 3D printing thus offers reasonable time-savings, allowing for rapid prototyping and design evaluation in hours.
Additive manufacturing techniques are generally more affordable than conventional machining and production processes. Production costs typically include material, labor, and operational overheads. Because most 3D printers consume about the same energy as laptops, the operational cost for additive manufacturing is relatively lower. Furthermore, in most 3D printing jobs, assembly is unnecessary as the part is typically printed as a unified unit. This leads to a significant reduction in labor costs associated with assembly. When utilizing 3D printers, the production process requires minimal labor. Apart from needing for an expert to handle post-production tasks, 3D printing has minimal labor overhead compared to traditional machining, which usually relies on skilled machinists and experts.
For small and mid-scale production, 3D printing should remain the more cost-effective approach. However, as the volume increases, traditional machining emerges as the most cost-effective option in the long run.
Prototypes can be very costly to obtain, depending on what you plan to manufacture. Traditionally, prototypes will cost both time and money to produce. Conventional manufacturing necessitates the preparation of dies, tooling, and molds, and even a slight deviation from specifications can result in significant and painstaking financial impacts. 3D printing helps to mitigate the risk of developing faulty prototypes and offers immediate hands-on design iteration and evaluation. We must emphasize the importance of being able to print prototypes and assess their suitability before proceeding with mass manufacturing. 3D printing is one of the most viable rapid prototyping and risk mitigation techniques.
4. Freedom to design
The limitations to 3D printing such as minimum size features are far less significant when compared to those around traditional machining. When using conventional methods, issues in producing parts with complex geometries often arise. Frequently, there would be complaints about shaping, tool access, draft angles, and undercuts. In 3D printing, however, the final part is built from the ground-up, layer by layer. This grants designers unrestricted freedom to create with the assurance that the final part will be achieved and output flawlessly. Complex geometries can be digitally designed and sent to a 3D printer for production without concerns about compromising functionality, aesthetics, or ergonomics.
5. Sustainability and Accessibility
3D printing and other additive manufacturing processes are highly sustainable and will minimize material waste to the barest minimum. While subtractive technologies such as CNC machining remove a part of the material to obtain the final part, 3D printing builds the part of the ground-up. 3D printing therefore, only utilizes the exact amount of materials required for the part. Most additive manufacturing processes also re-use raw materials and recycle them to produce more than one build.
3D printers are also very widely available. After being around for 30 years, the technology has revolutionized, resulting in the availability of multiple models of 3D printers for purchase at diverse price ranges. Today, depending on the size and functionality, you too can own a 3D printer at a significantly lesser cost compared to owning a traditional production equipment
6. Single-step manufacture
Product designers strive only to produce products with one part. One of the biggest advantages of 3D printing is its one-step manufacturing. This enables the completion of manufacturing in a single operation, eliminating the need for part assembly. Once the design is finalized, the CAD file is sent to the 3D printer, which prints the final design within a few hours.
Single-step manufacture greatly trims costs and reduces the dependence on a number of manufacturing processes such as welding or machining. In some cases, having a single product may guarantee that the final product is stronger than one that is welded or joined at numerous points.
Premium Parts 3D printing Services in China
At Premium Parts, we offer high-quality 3D printing services for many industries. Our expertise range across a number of services and we can generate exceptional quality products with a quick turnaround. We can work with an extensive range of materials and produce both rapid prototyping and mass manufacturing volumes.