3D printing or additive manufacturing took the world by storm and invaded several fields, in both business and pleasure.
Here is a complete guide to the merging of 3D printing technology into everyday life. You will find the tools and methods used by this technology to improve your business or for your personal use.
Feeling extra creative? Learn 5 3D Printing Side Hustles that you can start today without owning a printer.
3D printing is becoming mainstream, especially for the creativity involved in the process. There are a host of design ideas to try on a 3D printer. The options are limitless.
Below is a list of the most creative design ideas you can try, even for beginners:
A prototype is the real-life version of your product. It is a crucial step in the process of producing 3D objects. A 3D printer can help you do that.
3D-printed business cards would make any business stand out. They entice the curiosity of clients. It is a great way to make a lasting impression.
Popsicles molds are the ultimate summer items. Everyone loves to make popsicles. Designing one can be as fun and creative. What’s more, you can personalize them.
Small guitars and violins
3D-printed guitar and violins are a great starting point for 3D modeling and printing. It can be a little challenging but the end result is worth it.
3D topographic maps take landscaping to a whole new level. You can make any geographical feature from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the city of Seoul. This project will help you design intricate models.
Pen and pencil holder
Even the most mundane desk items can be re-designed to create extraordinary pieces. You can give the pen holders different shapes and forms. It is up to your imagination.
Fidget spinners made quite the buzz when they were first marketed. Creating your own fidget spinner and adding some personal twists to the design is an original idea to try.
Chess enthusiasts will love this. Designing unique chess pieces for your personal collection is a great idea. You can add little intricacies to the design as a challenge.
Even jewellery pieces can be made using a 3D printer. With a good finishing touch, the pieces would come out really amazing.
The use of 3D printing in the aviation industry is not a novel idea. However, there is no need to be an engineer to design a drone. You can learn how to do it yourself. This is one of the most original ideas on the list.
Easily the most challenging design to create but it is not impossible. The application of 3D printers in medicines extends very far. You can be part of that by designing and making prosthetics.
There are over 150 3D industrial printers. Each comes with its own specificities and mode of operation. Making a prototype usually helps to determine which printer is best to render the final product as expected. The prototype building phase begins with the selection of the materials, technologies, and finishes that you wish to see in your product.
Before that, a 3D model of the product needs to be produced using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. This design gives a visual preview of the object as well as its size and shape. Once the design is ready, the 3D printer can get to work.
With the increasing complexities of mechanical systems, testing each part of certain machines is a strenuous task. 3D-printed prototypes take away part of this burden.
Using a 3D printer to make prototypes has many advantages:
1. 3D printing gives you more leeway to experiment with the product design
2. Different versions of the same design can be produced to showcase how a difference in design can affect the performance or quality of the object.
3. It saves money and time.
4. 3D printing makes better use of resources compared to injection molding.
Looking for some specific designs to play with? Check out our list of 35 cool things you can 3D print right now.
Post-processing is an essential part of 3D printing. Finishing techniques have different looks and feel. The finishing touch turns your print into the final product.
Various finishing techniques are available. More often than not, a product will need a combination of different finishes.
The first post-processing technique used on 3D-printed objects is sanding. Sanding smooths the surface and removes stepping lines. This process can be repeated twice to produce a better finish. Other finishing techniques include dyeing, polishing, and vapor smoothing. Vapor smoothing is an alternative to sanding.
Different materials used require different finishing touches. The ultimate end goal is to produce a product with a smooth surface and good finish. Now, while some models come from CAD software design, many more are replicas of existing models. Hence, there needs to be a 3D scan so as to print the exact copy of the model. The finishing touch will depend on the quality of the scan; every nook and cranny of the model needs to be mapped.
Using 3D Printed Products in Marketing
3D printing can be a real asset for a business. Not only does it speed up the prototyping process but it also serves other purposes in production and marketing. We have seen that 3D printers facilitate the production of prototypes. However, with the incorporation of 3D printers into businesses, other aspects of the business have changed.
There are many ways in which 3D printing can be resourceful for businesses:
3D printers on the production line increase the yield as more products can be manufactured more quickly.
Furthermore, 3D-printed products are a great marketing tool. The potential for mass customization gives companies a competitive edge. This tool can be marketed to drive in more clients. Only a slight modification in the STL file to suit the client’s needs can go a long way in generating profits. The application of such a feat goes beyond the business world.
Fields such as medicine can benefit from custom-made 3D designs. Implants, prosthetics, and surgical tools made to suit the patient or doctor are now available. Also, companies can boast about the quality of their product since precision is key in 3D printing.
There are no defects and little to no possible malfunctions. Therefore, using 3D-printed products in marketing can prove to be a good call.
The use of 3D printing technology spans several fields as it has a panoply of benefits. More specifically in business, 3D printing seems to be the next must-have for all companies.
Advantages 3D printers bring to businesses:
1. Rapid prototyping
2. Reduced cost of production
3. Faster production
4. Marketing opportunities through mass-customization
5. Less overheads
6. Better quality products
7. Less human labour needed
8. Fewer by-products and waste
9. Fewer risks involved
10. More sustainable products
11. More flexibility in the manufacturing process
Surface Scan can assist in implementing all these benefits into your business. With the development of better modeling software and 3D printing systems, 3D-printed products will continue to grow in value and become industry standards.