3D printers don’t make things by cutting or molding, as traditional manufacturing machines do. Through the method of layer by layer stacking to form physical objects, the scope of digital concept is expanded from the physical point of view. 3D printer is the preferred processing equipment for shape design with precise internal concave or interlocking parts. It can realize such design in the physical world. Here are people from all walks of life with different backgrounds and levels of expertise who describe in a similar way that 3D printing helps them reduce the main barriers of cost, time and complexity.
The advantage of 3D printing is beyond the traditional manufacturing industry
In terms of traditional manufacturing, the more complex the shape of the object, the higher the manufacturing cost. For 3D printers, the cost of manufacturing complex shaped items does not increase, and manufacturing a gorgeous complex shaped item does not consume more time, skills or cost than printing a simple box. Manufacturing complex goods without increasing costs will break the traditional pricing model and change the way we calculate manufacturing costs.
Advantage 2: product diversification does not increase costs
A 3D printer can print many shapes, and it can make different shapes every time like a craftsman. The traditional manufacturing equipment has few functions and limited shapes. 3D printing saves the cost of training mechanics or purchasing new equipment. A 3D printer only needs different digital blueprints and a batch of new raw materials.
Advantage 3: no assembly
3D printing can make parts integrated. Traditional mass production is based on assembly lines. In modern factories, machines produce the same parts, which are then assembled by robots or workers (even across continents). The more components a product has, the more time and cost it takes to assemble. 3D printer can print a door and its supporting hinge at the same time through layered manufacturing, without assembly. Omitting assembly shortens the supply chain and saves labor and transportation costs. The shorter the supply chain, the less pollution.
Advantage 4: zero time delivery
3D printer can print on demand. Real time production reduces the physical inventory of enterprises, and enterprises can use 3D printers to produce special or customized products to meet the needs of customers according to customer orders, so a new business model will become possible. If the goods people need are produced nearby on demand, zero time delivery production can minimize the cost of long-distance transportation.
Advantage 5: unlimited design space
The traditional manufacturing technology and craftsman’s product shape are limited, and the ability to make shape is limited by the tools used. For example, the traditional wooden lathe can only produce round objects, the rolling mill can only process the parts assembled with milling cutter, and the mold making machine can only produce the mold shape. 3D printers can break through these limitations, open up huge design space, and even make shapes that may only exist in nature at present.
Advantage 6: Zero skill manufacturing
Traditional craftsmen need to be apprentices for several years to master the required skills. Mass production and computer-controlled manufacturing machines reduce the requirements for skills. However, traditional manufacturing machines still need skilled professionals to adjust and calibrate the machines. 3D printers get all kinds of instructions from design documents, and they need less operation skills than injection molding machines to make the same complex items. Unskilled manufacturing has opened up a new business model, and can provide people with new production methods in remote environment or extreme cases.
Advantage 7: no space, portable manufacturing
In terms of unit production space, compared with traditional manufacturing machines, 3D printers have stronger manufacturing capacity. For example, an injection molding machine can only make things much smaller than itself. On the contrary, a 3D printer can make things as big as its printing table. After the 3D printer is debugged, the printing device can move freely, and the printer can make larger items than itself. The high production capacity of unit space makes 3D printers suitable for home or office use because they require small physical space.
Advantage 8: reduce waste by-products
Compared with traditional metal manufacturing technology, 3D printers produce fewer by-products when manufacturing metal. The waste of traditional metal processing is amazing, 90% of the metal raw materials are discarded in the factory. 3D printing reduces waste in making metal. With the development of printing materials, “net forming” manufacturing may become a more environmentally friendly processing method.
Advantage 9: unlimited combination of materials
For today’s manufacturing machines, it is difficult to combine different raw materials into a single product, because traditional manufacturing machines can not easily integrate multiple raw materials in the process of cutting or molding. With the development of multi material 3D printing technology, we have the ability to integrate different raw materials. The raw materials that could not be mixed before will form new materials. These materials have a variety of colors and unique properties or functions.
Advantage 10: accurate solid copy
Digital music files can be copied endlessly without degradation of audio quality. In the future, 3D printing will extend digital precision to the physical world. Scanning technology and 3D printing technology will jointly improve the resolution of morphological transformation between the physical world and the digital world. We can scan, edit and copy physical objects, create accurate copies or optimize the original.