The best way to determine if a 3D printer or 3D printing technology is the right fit for your business is to obtain a sample of one of your parts. This is the ultimate test in the purchase process as having a sample part in your hands will confirm (or deny) the benefits and features presented by a vendor.
As a sample part is intended to satisfy your requirements, make sure that the benchmark is driven by you. Obtaining a demo part from a vendor will demonstrate how a printer can build someone else’s part, but you need to know how it will build YOUR part!
Your benchmarking process should be:
- Give the vendor one of your CAD models that has the typical shape, size, and features of your products.
- Make sure that the part is printed by the same machine that you are thinking of purchasing.
- Request all the necessary information pertaining to the printing process e.g. material[s] used, time spent printing, machine setup, etc. So that you will have real data for costing purposes.
- Review the printed part based on your evaluation criteria e.g. the part functionality, material feel, durability etc.
- If you are evaluating more than one vendor or technology then take your time to compare the same part built from a different printer.
A 3D printer is an important capital investment for your business, which will have a big impact on your design/product development process, so take your time and don’t buy before you try.
Customers from a wide range of industries have benefited from using a 3D printer in their research and development processes. Visit the Objet website if you need industry specific information.
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