3D Printers are relatively new in the manufacturing industry. So there are naturally a lot of misconceptions about them in the market. These misconceptions about 3D printers may become hindrances in adopting 3D printing technology. So it is necessary to debunk these myths to make 3D printing widely available for it to reach its full potential. There also might be some questions about the usage of 3D printers. So let’s look at these misconceptions about 3D printers to remove the confusion around 3D Printing. Some of the common misconceptions are:
- 3D Printers are difficult to use: The process of Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing may initially be overwhelming. But it is not that difficult. Like many other things, if given some time it may seem simple. A lot of 3D printers available now are ready to use. Just plug in and print. You just have to follow the instructions given. Making your own design can seem overwhelming but again, you can learn it easily by investing some time. Using the right software will make the job even simpler. There are also a lot of courses available online to teach you the basics of 3D Printing.
- 3D Printers will replace high-volume production: While there are some who say that 3D printing is replacing high-volume manufacturing, the time and cost of 3D printing parts at high volume is often far greater than that of traditional manufacturing. Producing at scale has been optimized for decades, so 3D printing is currently not fast or cheap enough to replace processes like injection molding or casting. Some 3D printing manufacturers are pushing for printers capable of producing high-volume parts, but these will most likely supplement existing processes instead of replacing them.3D printers are able to create parts cheaper and faster for custom low-volume parts. Businesses are able to focus on revenue-making end-use parts, instead of putting too much time, effort, and money on low-volume parts that may not generate any revenue for the business. With a 3D printer, you can rapidly iterate designs without wasting resources waiting for parts that may not meet quality standards. This makes 3D printers perfect for low-volume, custom-made prototypes, tooling, and fixtures that are often complex and hard to machine but are critical for an efficient production process.
- 3D Printing is expensive: A 3D printer is an investment. Compared to other production solutions, it often requires minimal outlay, but you still need to be careful not to invest in unreliable hardware or a closed ecosystem that locks you into costly consumables and service contracts. By choosing the right hardware, software, and materials for your use case, you’ll be able to maximize your ROI, with a potential payback period of just a few months.
- 3D Printing is only for prototypes: While FFF technology lends itself extremely well to rapid prototyping, organizations around the world are using 3D printers to create tools, jigs, and fixtures for specific or generalized use, such as on Volkswagen Autoeuropa’s assembly lines or in a Heineken bottling plant. Some companies are even creating end-use parts in both one-off and small-batch prints, enabling them to avoid lengthy manufacturing costs and wait times.
- 3D printing will destroy the environment: Some people worry that making it easy to produce plastic objects will lead to environmental problems due to the ease of printing new products. The counterargument is that printing massively reduces waste, compared to traditional “subtractive” manufacturing (cutting, drilling, etc). Also, materials may be biodegradable. For example, plant-based materials can be used to turn food waste into filament for 3D printers. 3D printing offers potential ways of using recycled plastics. And projects such as restoring marine habitats by 3D printing coral reefs show how environmental sustainability can be supported by 3D printing.
So this was a small effort to debunk the misconceptions about 3D printers to achieve desirable ROI.
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