3D printers employ a variety of materials, including plastics and polymers, steel, titanium, gold, and ceramic. This versatility means 3D printed models can be used for everything from artistic sculptures to airplane components. Some 3D printers can even print proteins and chemicals, enabling the devices to create foods and medicines.
Here are some applications for 3D printing:
Low volume manufacturing
3D printing will allow manufacturers to license the rights to their designs, which could be made downloadable to the licensee to 3D print. The technology could also bring production levels more in line with demand, thereby saving on production, shipment and storage costs.
What does 3D printing mean for small businesses?
It's important to note that 3D printing continuously evolves. Years ago, rumors spread about the possibility of 3D printers being in every home by now. While that notion proved ambitious, there are practical implications of 3D printing that can benefit your small business.
From prototyping to design considerations to mass customization, 3D printing consistently shows its worth. As the industry evolves, small business owners that manufacture products should keep tabs on changes and use 3D printing when it proves cost and time effective for their business.