Why is there so much hype about 3D printing? Because this method reinvents how we approach manufacturing—and because it can save money. But there’s always room for improvement. It’s worth your time to strategize about how to lower the costs of your 3D printing project even further.
3D printing differs from traditional techniques in that it’s “additive.” Rather than cutting away excess material from a component during production, 3D printers use only what they need. Custom 3D printing services build your design layer by layer, whether you’re using plastic or metal. New technology keeps improving the process and opening new doors.
Optimizing the Design
One of the biggest benefits of 3D printing is that it can create more complex designs. It can even combine parts that would otherwise have to be made separately and assembled in another step. But adjusting the geometry can lower a component’s volume and decrease the needed materials. Consider these options to enhance your design:
- “Lightweighting” by adding pockets while preserving overall dimensions.
- Using lattice structures to balance materials with part strength and print speed.
- Keeping wall thickness at minimum recommendations or above.
- Including drainage holes for hollow components.
It might seem like there are a daunting number of materials out there, especially when it comes to plastics. Your manufacturer can walk you through the best candidates for your project, and you may discover more than one viable option. The newest possibility isn’t always the best, though. For instance, when it comes to metal 3D printing, there’s a reason why we keep coming back to aluminum—it’s durable, lightweight, and has yet to be improved upon. Whatever material you select, take these variables into account:
Choosing the Best Printer
3D printing keeps evolving, and so does its machinery. Different processes have different prices, so the more printers you can examine, the better. Just be careful that you aren’t compromising function by going under budget. Here are just a few of the printers available:
- The ProJet 7000, which is respected for its accuracy, precision, and reliability. It can handle a big build volume and an impressive range of materials.
- The Onyx Pro, which boasts a second print head just for continuous Kevlar and fiberglass.
- The Markforged X7, which is the only system in the world capable of reinforcing plastics to aluminum levels of strength and performance.
- The Metal X, which prints your custom components using a bound metal powder rod that can develop into a dense metal part in one step.
- The ProX 500, which is unmatched when it comes to consistently and efficiently producing the highest resolution thermoplastic parts.
Miller Plastics has these models and many more among its fleet of 3D printers, and we invest in each new technology as it comes along. That’s just one way we can help you lower the costs of your 3D printing project. Contact us with any questions about your project, and we’ll guide you to the best solution.