Learn how to Reduce 3D Printing Service Bureau Costs

Article by Rod Mackay updated December 3, 2015

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Reduce 3D Printing Service Bureau Costs

In my previous blog article I covered some of reasons why you need to take our new 3D Printing Essentials Training Course. But one of the reasons I only touched on was learning how to save money when working with a 3D Printing Service Bureau. One of the biggest benefits of our training course is the fact that you will learn how to optimize your CAD file to eliminate the cost of rework by a Service Bureau; and more importantly you will better understand which type of 3D Printing technology and material to choose in order to save costs and obtain the best part for your needs.

Gaining the knowledge of how to design parts for a Service Bureau is just as important as knowing how to design a part for a CNC machine. The same principles apply where you should know the advantages of the chosen technology, the limitations, and how to design your parts for optimal production.

Plus choosing which 3D Printing technology to pay for without understanding the benefits is like choosing a car without understanding important features distinguishing one type from another (e.g. fuel consumption, manual vs. automatic gear etc.).

Three Money Saving Techniques

Working with a Service Bureau is the next best thing to having your own 3D printer, here are three best practices that you will learn during our training course that will save you money when 3D printing through a service bureau:

  1. Understanding more about 3D printing will improve communication with a Service Bureau. When you understand the potential of 3D printing you will be able to better explain your requirements to your service bureau. For instance knowing that there is a glossy/matte option can save you post processing time. Or knowing the advantages of the different types of 3D printing technology can help you choose the best method of producing your part.
  2. Understanding the 3D printing process can help reduce print costs — for example knowing how the service bureau will print your parts when you don’t care about the colour and material properties. Or learning the technique of splitting parts and asking the service bureau to print each item with a different technology to get the best result and save money.   
  3. Paying for a Service Bureau to make your file print ready can be costly — your service bureau might be able to help you with fixing your file but the best practices included in the training are not related to bug-fixing but rather making the right decisions. The service bureau might be able to help with some of the decisions you need to take but you first need to be able identify the challenges and be able to articulate your requirements.

Here are a couple of case studies where taking our course can save you money:

Case Study #1

Customer: Start-up company, very familiar with 3D printing.

Part weight: 96 grams

The Story: Customer saved 27% of the total cost by being able to communicate the right material for each part and the best surface finish

ExampleCost
Original Price$363.40
Saving thanks to familiarity with the different materials (topic is covered in the training)$66.60
Saving thanks to familiarity with the different surface finish options (topic is covered in the training)$30.76
Total saving$97.36 (27%)

 

Case Study #2

Customer: Biomedical Company, not very familiar with 3D printing.

Part’s weight: 6 grams      

The story: A biomedical engineering company paid for four print jobs (a 500 part run for the first job!) with a service bureau before understanding that the best thing to do was manually drill a hole that was required after printing, instead of including the hole in the 3D CAD model.

ExampleCost
Total cost for 500 pieces$4,000
Total cost for additional 15 pieces (3 more iterations)$120
Total saving that could have made with training$4,120 (103%)
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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.