How to make the right decision when purchasing a 3D printer: It is about you
Either you or somebody at your organization came across 3D printing. Your first thoughts are: amazing technology, cool stuff, neat parts. Then the obvious question: how can I benefit from having a 3D Printer in my company? Your imagination starts flying – design validation, sales and marketing tools, functional testing, actual parts, jigs and fixtures, print that spare part that you need…
You find one or more useful applications and start your research. Technologies – FDM, LOM, Polyjet, SLA, SLS…an endless list of acronyms. Then, Materials – ABS threads, metal powder, liquid photopolymers, starch powder, even chocolate and other culinary specialties. You go further, and research prices – $3,000, $15,000….$500,000!
It is about you, so ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do I need rapid prototyped parts?
- How do I get more printed parts without the high cost of outsourcing?
- What is the main purpose of 3D printed prototypes?
- Is detail and surface finish important for my parts?
- How important is colour for the models I print?
- What kind of environmental / mechanical factors will my prototypes be exposed to?
- Will I save money by having an in-house 3D printing solution?
- What is the 3D printing technology most likely to introduce new developments and improvements in the near future?
- Is confidentiality a must factor in my R&D process?
After answering these questions, and comparing your answers with the options on the market today, your purchase decision will be easier.
Stay tuned for the next chapter: What is the best technology for me?
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