Breaking News

More Than Prototypes: A Look at the 3D Printing Industry

More Than Prototypes A Look at the 3D Printing Industry

What is the impact of 3D printing technology affecting business? And what do the future of this technology have for entrepreneurs?

  • 3D printing can assist your company with prototyping or manufacturing in low-volume. It can also be used for design, biomedical devices and mechanical components.
  • You should ensure the supply chain as well as the quality of your product to guard against non-licensed 3D printing. It is also important to select only those who have the right expertise and knowledge pertinent to the 3D printing project you are working on.
  • Small businesses can benefit by a 3D printer like The Original Prusa MINI, Ultimaker S3 or Anycubic Vyper.
  • This post is written for small-scale business owners who produce products and are interested in 3D printing.– Manufacturing plays a crucial part for many small and medium-sized business owners. As technology advances and new manufacturing methods are developed, they are being developed as viable solutions for mid- and small-scale production. Of them are 3D printing. Its popularity in manufacturing has increased in recent times.

Simply the fact that 3D printing is a thrilling method of manufacturing does not mean it is a good idea for your company. There are still some issues with the cost and speed. Alongside the disadvantages the rumors keep appearing talking about “the next biggest trend” with 3D printing.

There is a lot of misconceptions about how to make the most of 3D printing, our team reached out to experts for an understanding of the ways 3D printing can benefit your business and figure out how the next step for 3D printing will bring.

What exactly is 3D printing?

The 3D printer is the method through which digital 3D models are transformed into tangible objects. In conjunction with computer software it 3D printer can read an STS file stored on the computer. It then utilizes filaments or resins in order to create the model in tangible materials in layers.

3D printers use a wide range of materials such as polymers and plastics, titanium, steel and ceramic. The versatility of 3D printed models means that they can be used to make a variety of objects, like artful sculptures as well as airplane parts. Some 3D printers even print chemical and protein components which allows the printers to produce food items and even medicines.

“I do not believe there’s a product that’s made today that’s not going to be affected with 3D printing in one way or other, in a direct or indirect way,” said Mark Cola who was the former chief executive officer of 3D printing firm Sigma Labs.

Innovations in the field continue to develop. Actually, Statista projects the worldwide 3D printing market to grow to $37.2 billion by 2026. This is more than double the projected value that was $17.4 billion. However, 3D printing is predominantly employed for a small number of different types of projects.

Software for printing 3D models


One of the most common uses of 3D printers is the speedy and effective creation of prototypes. Since the invention of 3D printers in 1983, many companies have used 3D printing to produce an accurate model of their ideal product for testing the idea or show it to future investors.

“Before we started calling it 3D printing it was known as “rapid prototyping,”” stated Greg Paulsen, director of the engineering of applications for a the third-party manufacturer Xometry. “It was thought of as a method of getting close enough to an actual model.”

This is now changing. Although entrepreneurs continue to use 3D printing to create prototypes however, the technology has become more adaptable and accessible which has led to the development of new applications.

“The principal development I’d like to summarize is that 3D printing is shifting from a predominantly prototyping tool, which is which is currently the most popular application that allows 3D printing. It’s now the end of manufacturing,” said Filemon Schoffer co-founder and CCO at the online manufacturing platform Hubs. “This is already happening , but will only continue to grow.” [Related to: What is the best way to test a business Idea [Related: How to Test an Idea for Business

Manufacturing with low-volume

Although 3D printers are slow, they’re able of satisfying low-volume manufacturing needs. Like prototyping, if a business owner is preparing to introduce the first product and isn’t confident about the market demand, they could print a small amount of the product to try out the idea. It is also a common practice in medical devices, for instance, when manufacturers design tests and refine their products for improvement.

Low-volume manufacturing can benefit from 3D printing’s capabilities, 3D printing, advancements in technology have made 3D printing an attractive alternative to higher-volume production. Small-scale businesses must think about the potential benefits of 3D printing for mass customization of products.

“Currently, 3D printing is predominantly employed in applications and industries with low volume, high unit cost, and the requirement to be customized, and where the costs associated with 3D printing outweigh the advantages,” said J. Scott Schiller the director of global marketing and customer design of HP Inc.’s 3D printing business. “However technological advancement continues to push the boundaries of 3D printing and allowing the potential of 3D printing in mass-production applications. In the coming five years, you’ll witness parts design becoming more functionalfocused and volume-oriented. 3D printing will be able to integrate into manufacturing systems across industries.”

Mechanical components

Another benefit of 3D printers can be the design of mechanical components – whether to be sold in large industrial facilities or as personal repairs. A lot of the products produced by 3D printing aren’t directly sold to the public, but instead are made by corporations or contractors from third parties as parts of a larger undertaking. For instance, the 3D-printed fuel nozzle from GE Aviation that was released in the year 2015.

Small machine shops , or those who want to do repairs at home are able to use similar techniques to their projects. The advent of 3D printing makes it easier to create components for machines that could not be available anymore or take too long to arrive.

Biomedical devices

One of the most exciting aspects that is a major benefit of 3D printing has been the possibility to print biomedical devices that are custom to the individual. For instance, some firms are working on 3D-printed, customized prosthetics specifically for amputees. These prosthetics are made to be more comfortable for the person using them.

“[Biomedical engineers ] are 3D printers to better suit their needs than off-the-shelf parts,” Cola said. “I believe where you can will see this technology going is more towards the athletic and performance aspect of the industry that sees athletes who can fully recover their athletic performance after injuries, or improve their performance with 3D-specific components that are specifically designed to meet their specific needs.”

Other examples of the use of 3D printing within the health sector are the ongoing effort to create printable organs for patients who require transplants and also the printing of proteins and chemicals to create new drugs.


When designing a product by engineers they need to take into consideration how limited the manufacturing process. 3D printers are able to create components previously thought impossible to achieve using traditional manufacturing methods. This creates a completely new dimension during the design phase which could lead to improved products, with greater efficiency and components. The majority of 3D-printed products can add value to products, and some are quite unique.

“It allows your mind to open to all the possibilities that you can make using this technology” Paulsen said. “I’d love to get this technology off the top of the pile and declare, ‘This is an everyday manufacturing process as is everything else.”

Printing, Copyrights, and the 3D printer

As 3D printers grow in popularity as do the methods of quickly reproducing the intellectual property that is protected. Roy Kaufman, managing director of government and business relations at the Copyright Clearance Center, warns that the industry of manufacturing could be nearing the point of its “Napster day.” In that context, he refers to the reality of the entertainment industry, where films and music could be easily copied or pirated via the Internet.

“I believe that we’ll witness, as we’ve seen in almost every technology two things occur things become cheaper and they become better,” Kaufman said. “As technology improves, the performance of printers increases as the supplies available for printing improve and the prices go down, we reach that point – the Napster moment. That’s when the tools of reproduction are so dispersed, the capacity to reproduce with a minimal cost had been scattered and that it was impossible to effectively protect your rights completely by utilizing current IP (intellectual property) laws.”

The moment could come fast, Kaufman said, or it could not arrive in the least. But the possibility the fact that 3D printing is becoming increasingly commonplace could be a feasible scenario that requires strategic planning. Kaufman recommended that you protect your business by ensuring the quality of your supplier chain as well as that your product’s quality is guaranteed.

“[The consumer] may be willing to pay more for the assurances provided by suppliers,” Kaufman added, “but they’d like to know that it’s not just about the way that the product looks like, but that it’s also safe. Testing and certification is going to become more vital.”

With these developments there is also a chance. 3D printing can allow companies to license right to designs that could be made available for the licensee to 3D print. It could also make production levels closer with demand, making it easier to reduce production, shipping cost and even storage.

“If you take a look at an average pharmacy, for instance they’ve got all these medications with the date of expiration and hope that somebody will walk in and require prescriptions for the medicine before they can dispose of it,” Kaufman said. “They pay to store it, or pay to preserve it, and might even need to store it in the central warehouse. Imagine that your local CVS can print anything under license, obtain chemical ingredients from the pharmaceutical firm, or maybe even the machine. The business doesn’t need to produce items that could never be used and never needs to ship the items, and has no need to keep them in storage. All can be made in the way that is needed.”

What is the future for this business?

Based on Sarah Boisvert, founder of Fab Lab Hub, “we’ve gotten past the excitement phase” that 3D printing has had. The stories of being able to 3D print anything you can think of are fading away and people are starting to comprehend the practical aspects that come with 3D printing. However, this doesn’t mean that the field isn’t facing challenges in the future however.

Boisvert has spoken of the necessity for skilled workers in manufacturing. Boisvert isn’t the only one with this worry, since Boisvert is not alone. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) continues to speak out about the challenges manufacturing companies face when looking for skilled workers. In the recently released NAM report, 46.3% of manufacturing companies of small and mid-sized think that the finding of qualified employees is a significant issue.

As 3D printing becoming a more possible component of the supply chain of manufacturers, it is essential that they have workers with the skills to operate the printers efficiently and in a time-bound manner. Furthermore, the current price and the efficiency of 3D printing could create problems in the supply chain integration process, Boisvert explained. In the final analysis the choice to utilize 3D printing comes down to whether it’s a viable option for your company and if it’s worthwhile.

“We utilize all kinds of things,” Boisvert said of her manufacturing process at Potomac Photonics, another company she was a part of in the founding. “We utilize 3D printing as well as laser cutting … I believe it’s about integrating 3D printing within the manufacturing process and your supply chain. Whatever device you’re using it’s about picking the appropriate tool to do the task.” [Related to: 3-D printing jobs 3D Printing Jobs

The top 3D printers to choose for small, home-based businesses

3D printing has come so far that it’s accessible at home. In fact the 3D printers listed below are ideal for small, home-based businesses..

1. Original Prusa MINI

Prusa MINI: The Original Prusa MINI is the most suitable choice for home-based small-sized enterprises. It occupies just 2 sq ft of desktop space. Its built-in area is around 350 square inches. Its resolution for layers is 50-200 microns and it is able to be used it with various types of filaments. It can be difficult to calibrate However, at the price of $350 this could be worth the effort.

2. Ultimaker S3

Its Ultimaker S3 is your best option for printing large objects. It is compatible with various materials and attain an image resolution between 20 and 600 microns. It’s also quite compact for a big object printer, with a built space of around 300 square inches. It’s also well-known for its slow speed to print and the price of $4,080 is very high.

3. Anycubic Vyper

If you’re looking to print large objects but aren’t able to afford Ultimaker’s options The Anycubic Vyper might better suit your needs and budget. It will provide at minimum 100 microns of resolution per layer for just $600. Also, you’ll get around the size of 950 square inches of construction area as well as a built-in accessory drawer. A few reviewers have complained that the Vyper causes an excessive amount of stringing at the beginning and a poor construction quality.

What do the latest developments in 3D printing will mean for small-scale businesses

3D printing continues to evolve. There was a time when rumors circulated concerning the prospect of 3D printers in every household today. Although that idea proved to be not realistic but there are some practical advantages of 3D printing which could aid small-scale businesses.

3D printing has consistently proven its value, and this is thanks to its prototyping as well as design and mass customisation. Be aware of developments in the field as it evolves and utilize 3D printing only when time- and cost-efficient for your business.

Check Also

How to Write a Debt Collection Letter

How to Write a Debt Collection Letter

This guide includes information about how to write a debt collection letter and pursue outstanding …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *