3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file – starting with a virtual CAD design to create an object from hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers of plastic, that are laid down to produce a three dimensional model.
Although 3D printing is not a new process, it is becoming increasingly used for product design and small quantity manufacture, providing a cost effective and realistic solution to design challenges – for new or innovative products – or product modifications.
The process produces a fully functioning 3D production model closely resembling an end moulded product, in an ABS material that provides 70% of the strength of the moulded part. Many versions and adaptations can be produced during this process to ensure full pre-production functionality.
This technology can make a significant difference to an entrepreneur offering a cost-effective, low risk route to market. Samples can be produced and tested to see if an idea works before scaling up to conventional mass production.
For a small investment of anything up to a few hundred pounds, 3D printing allows testing or design modification to meet exact product specification/requirements. Additionally, short manufacturing runs can be carried out if a limited number of a customised product is required.
Many of our customers, particularly new customers, are turning to 3D printing to ensure their product design is exactly right before committing to tooling to avoid additional cost if a design fault shows up later.
Understanding the purpose of a proposed design and functionality are key elements of the process undertaken and Data Plastics’ specialist team offer additional non-manufacturing support to help ensure product marketability and quality standards for market success.
For more information about our Tooling and 3D Prototyping capabilities click here.