At this point you have realized that owning a 3D printer will streamline your product development process, and provide additional benefits such as confidentiality, faster turnaround, and accelerated time to market.
You have also determined which technology is appropriate for your product, and selected the machine whose size and features best fit your needs and budget.
If you are planning to buy a printer for your personal use, or if you work for an organization that needs 3D printing, the purchase must have a rational and measurable justification. For an organization you will need to present the proposal to your management team. You should justify the need for a 3D Printer from both financial and technical aspects:
- Demonstrate that a 3D Printer will provide a financial benefit: by reducing the cost of the current product prototyping or testing methods. Your presentation must be strongly supported with actual numbers and measurable projections.
- The chosen technology can be easily supported by results: present an example printed part to your management team. Depending on your product needs, specific features in the printed part will match your main requirements e.g. high detail, product specific materials, production cost, speed, impact resistance, etc. Every technology has its own strengths, and they will be evident in the benchmark part.
- The benefits of in-house 3D Printing: such as confidentiality, faster time to market, and improvements in your product design process; which may not be 100% measurable, but must be highlighted and explained.
When you are able to present the benefits, supported by numbers, plus facts and convincing reasons, the purchase of your 3D printer will be a no brainer.
Stay tuned for the next chapter: Benchmarking. Don’t buy before you try.