The primary role of 3D printing has been in the context of prototyping before diversifying into other uses such as the hobby of particular. Now prototyping remains the main use of this tool. But why ?
The purchase of a 3D printer for a company will allow him to make the vast majority of his prototyping. In the case where the final part is manufactured by molding, it is absolutely unthinkable financially to make the prototypes by this method of manufacture. Indeed, the cost of a mold is profitable from thousands of pieces manufactured and sold, if we use this system to make a prototype, thus implying a phase where the piece will be reworked and therefore a new mold to consider, one doubles, at a minimum, the business budget of the piece. Although a 3D printer can represent a certain investment, compared to this other proposal, it is not. In addition, the printer, unlike the mold, can be used for an infinite number of forms.
Moreover, the materials used will most probably be more advantageous from the economic point of view. Unlike a cutting system, or subtractive manufacturing, there is no or little loss of material in the additive manufacturing process of 3D printing. The cost will therefore include only the material that will constitute the prototype, limiting in a first aspect the costs. In addition, the cost of materials may also be limited: assuming that the prototypes are mainly PLA, the price per kilogram of the PLA will certainly be more interesting than the price of the final material. Finally, when making a part, it is not necessary to systematically test the entire piece, the cost of material will be all the more restricted by the printing of pieces of parts to be tested.
A time gain
This system also has a temporal gain. Indeed, the establishment and manufacture by 3D printing will certainly take less time: no need to manufacture the mold, possibility to print only the part of the important part for the test, etc… In addition, the printer, unlike many other manufacturing processes, does not require labor during manufacturing. The time saved is also there because it is possible to perform other activities during the manufacturing time.
This article explains why 3D printing was chosen by companies as a prototype manufacturing process. Know that you can easily prototyping as an individual, this will allow you to test your design to perfect your part. Do not hesitate to perform these small tests before printing the final model and possibly to undergo different treatment, the goal is to remove any possibility that your part is a defect before using.