The capability to create a new product, model it in 3D software and print a concept model in a matter of hours is extremely helpful. A 3D printer allows you to test various design ideas during your product development process at moderately low cost. By this means, concept models will not only drive significant cost savings, but also empower you to avoid potential problems along the development process, resulting in better products.
Testing products with 3D printed functional prototypes makes it far easier and less expensive to test your designs before you commit to costly tooling. As product designs begin to take shape, designers need to verify and test design elements to ensure the new product will function as intended. 3D printing allows design verification to be an iterative process where designers identify and address design challenges to spur new inventions or quickly identify the need for design revisions.
As product development converges on the final design, attention rapidly turns to manufacturing start-up. This stage often involves significant investment and lead time in the tooling, jigs and fixtures necessary to manufacture the new product. 3D printing can help reduce the investment risk and shorten the time cycle for product launch.
Producing parts with traditional production technologies such as injection moulding means you will have to invest in tooling. In traditional manufacturing, design processes have to stop before the mould is produced, which means that further design improvements can no longer be made due to the high cost of changing the mould.
The direct manufacturing of end-use parts and assemblies in plastic and metal materials using a 3D printer enables you to implement design changes, even during the production phase. This allows you to stay flexible even during manufacturing and be able to respond to changing market requirements.