3-D printing has proven to be very useful in the production and manufacturing industry. You can even print a plastic injection mold with a 3-D printer, using a specialized high temperature material. These molds are easily made for small, detailed parts, and this new technology is advancing every single day. You can make almost anything with a 3D printer. It’s also far cheaper and faster to make your product when compared to steel.
3D printers can be used to make parts from drawings or models. Most parts can be fully completed in under a day. This process can help you see a model of your part before you decide to put it into the production stage. Injection molds can be expensive, usually somewhere between $15,000 and $250,000. A 3-D printer can ensure that your part is just right before you have your steel mold made and go full force with production. It’s a chance to preview and make adjustments to your parts before you start making your final injection molds, in days rather than weeks.
Injection molding is still faster and more efficient than 3D printing when making millions of parts. They just can’t produce as fast as an injection molding machine. It could take 5 minutes to make a part that would take nearly 5 hours to print. 3D printing is perfect for test runs or small batch orders. For now, injection molding is still more efficient than 3-D printing for long term production.
All manufacturers want to be more efficient. 3-D printing plays a big role in companies reducing waste and saving resources. For lower volumes, it helps prevent overproduction and these parts can be made more quickly. It has also been used to revolutionize auto parts production and even prosthetic limb technology. When you can print something you don’t have to buy it from someone else. You can print strong, lightweight parts on demand.
3-D printing is simply not efficient enough to manufacture large quantities, however it is perfect for being part of a bigger process. With 3-D printing, a manufacturer can fix a design flaw with ease by making a few changes on the computer. It allows them to improve their design to perfection. These two technologies combined are more powerful when used to complement one another.
More advanced printers can produce different textures, strengths, and colors of the same part more easily than traditional injection molding. Injection molds produce a much wider variety of materials that have better color, are stronger, lightweight, and more chemically resistant than 3-D printers. They are more useful as tools in reducing waste in the mold creation process and improve the quality and accuracy of your high-volume production. Prototypes can be made quickly and easily at a lower cost with 3D printing.
3-D printers are great for helping manufacturers accelerate the development process. Parts can be manufactured easily, anywhere, and quickly. This technology helps get to the perfect dimensions and specifications during the injection mold design process without wasting as many resources and labor costs. Companies are taking advantage of advancing 3-D printing technologies to make the injection molding industry more efficient and eco-friendly through waste reduction.