Chris Richter, an applications and support engineer with R&D Technologies, talks about what's possible--and what's in the future--with 3D printing.
Nov 13, 2014 | Machine Design
Confirming the design intent has been met and identifying potential issues are two important solutions provided by 3D printing, especially when it can be done in-house. With computer aided design software (CAD), designers can test designs to some degree, right within the software. However, as good as the simulations within the software have become, there comes a point when it’s quicker and easier to build a version of the final product to get user feedback on the design. Making functional or merely cosmetic prototypes is one tool for eliciting such feedback. Unfortunately, requests for 3D printed prototypes can often require in-house order approvals followed by lead times of several days before a 3D printed part arrives. Creativity can be stifled by having to wait for prototypes before moving forward with the design.
That’s where in-house 3D printers can keep the process moving and the creativity flowing by letting more design prototypes be built, tested, and criticized in shorter timeframes. It lets designers prototype earlier and more often in the design cycle and identify key changes that need to be made.