Optimize your designs for additive manufacturing with us

During our many years of experience in additive manufacturing, we sometimes come across the opinion that 3D printing is not worthwhile or the result is not aesthetically appealing. In these cases, 3D printing may not have been chosen as the optimal manufacturing solution for a product or a component. However, what we see more often, is that the design just wasn't optimized for additive manufacturing. For example, there was used a too much material or a form was incorrectly designed. If we want to use the full potential of 3D printing, it is necessary to adjust proposals to the principles of technology.

It is difficult to define general and strict rules, what 3D printing is suitable for and what is not for. However, we will try to point out at least the most basic ones.

Is good for

  1. Small series
    Regarding the fact that there are not required initial investments, you can start to produce from one piece. However, it is necessary to realize that costs are not decreased in direct proportion to produced quantity. When a certain volume is reached (it is individual for each proposal), the costs remain fixed.
  2. Rapid prototyping
    It is an indispensable help for professional designers. It is a great benefit to see, hold and quickly validate the design before it goes to mass production. Visualizations can reveal a lot, but it can not replace physical contact and experience.
  3. Complex geometry
    Parts with complex geometry, unconventional design, or internal cavities. It is also an option to combine several parts together and produce them only as one. This is an advantage especially for topologically optimized metal parts. The result is a lightweight part with a futuristic structure. The most suitable technologies are SLS, MJF or DMLS
  4. Small objects
    This point is most likely the most questionable because it is difficult to define what means small object. Even physically larger objects that were optimized for additive manufacturing, can be efficiently produced. In principle, the smaller, the faster are parts printed, regardless of their complexity.

Is not good for

    1. Long flat surfaces
      Long flat surfaces of the same thickness are economically better to manufacture by laser cutting, milling, or water jet cutting.(e.g. 100 x 50 x 1 cm rectangle)
    2. Large series of product, e.g. 10k and more
      It still makes more economic sense to produce plastic or metal parts in large volumes by injection molding. Of course, we could find exceptions when 3D printing is the solution. Especially, when you do not need the products immediately, you do not have the money for the initial investment, or if you want to produce the number of pieces according to customer needs (although there will be overall more than 10,000 of them in total)
    3. High-volume models
      Models are mostly drawn for machining technology (milling, turning), where does not matter how much material will remain. On the other hand, 3D printing is very dependant on the volume of material. The more material the longer the printing takes and the price increases accordingly.
    4. Glossy surface
      High-gloss surfaces are a problem for 3D printing without further post-processing - surface treatment.This additional operation can the whole solution make more expensive.

If you have proposals or products that you would like to produce and you are looking for a suitable technology or you are considering the reduction of the cost, contact us. Consult your design with us for FREE. Let us optimize your projects for serial 3D printing production, for technologies FDM, SLS, SLA / DLP, DMLS). Arrange an online meeting or contact us at info@rapidnext.eu.