Myth Busting 3D Printing
Having been in the 3D printing business for 5+ years now, we’ve noticed a number of common myths surrounding this technology. We’re here to set the record straight.
MYTH #1: 3D printing is only good for printing trinkets or human hearts.
Although, yes, people have used 3D printers to print knickknacks and organs, we see that the best use cases for 3D printing lies in between these extremes. 3D printing allows for high design freedom and quick iterations with a wide library of materials. This has been incredibly useful to our clients for producing small batches of user-end fixtures, soft jaws, grippers, and molds. In addition to user-end pieces, 3D printing is exceptional for printing prototype iterations and film props. If you have the idea and details, we can print it for you. As long as it’s not a trinket or human heart.
MYTH #2: 3D printing is too expensive.
There are a variety of factors that can affect the cost of 3D printing. However, you may be surprised to learn that 3D printing can be a cost-effective solution in many cases. If the order quantity is 1,000 or less, 3D printing is a great fabrication option that will save you thousands in tooling costs, manufacturing fees, and order minimums. Secondly, prototyping market tests with 3D printers before scaling up production can help save time and money. No one wants to be stuck with 100,000 units of a product no one wants to buy.
MYTH #3: 3D printed parts are too weak.
In the early days of 3D printing, plastics were very weak and would degrade quickly. Nowadays, thermoplastics, metals, and other materials used in 3D printing are created specifically for this process, ensuring their strength and durability. If you consider these materials in the design and engineering phases, you can actually design stronger, more effective parts than other production methods.
MYTH #4: 3D printing is a new technology.
3D printing has been around for nearly 40 years! Chuck Hull invented stereolithography (SLA) in 1983. Hull was developing lamps for UV-curable resins when he first came up with his idea for 3D printing. His method uses UV light to cure and bond a photopolymer resin that is built up layer by layer. In 1986, Hull co-founded 3D Systems to commercialize his technology, including the STL file format that allows CAD software data to be translated for 3D printers.