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5 Ways You Can Use 3D Printing Technology For Your Small Business

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Guest Post by Madeline Dudziak

Also a huge fan of reading – perhaps a natural result of being named after the famous children’s book – Madeline’s Kindle is always crammed with more books than leisure time allows. Among other ways, she spends her free time are fun activities with her husband and young children, volunteering, and participating in two book clubs.

5 Ways You Can Use 3D Printing Technology For Your Small Business

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At one point in time, a 3D printer was something only large scale manufacturing businesses really benefitted from. 3D printers were bulky, and just not easily accessible for someone not in a large factory-type setting. It was helpful in those environments but there didn’t seem to be a clear path to getting 3D printing technology into smaller settings. 

3D printers being for large businesses is no longer the reality, however. Many small businesses have been able to start using 3D printers for their benefit. There are a lot of ways you can use a 3D printer that you may not have considered yet. 3D printing technology is everywhere now. Printers are smaller, more affordable, and easier than ever to use.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a 3D printer for your small business but you haven’t made the leap yet, it’s time to start considering what a 3D printer can really do for you. 3D printing technology could change how you’re doing things now in a big way. If you’re still not convinced, here are five ways you can use 3D printing technology for your small business.

1. Easy, Quick Prototypes

When you’re developing a new product for your business, getting a prototype in your hands can be a bit of a hassle. If you don’t have an in-house production team (and most small businesses don’t) then you’ll likely have to place an order with a large production company. Depending on where the company is located costs and production time can be huge obstacles.

As you’re creating your new product you may hold off on ordering extra prototypes for every small change due to the aforementioned costs. This can result in you not being able to see and hold every design iteration. It can leave you wondering what a small change will do to the look and functionality of your product because you don’t have a concrete example to look at.

With 3D printing, you’ll have the chance to print out your own prototype. Adjusting a small part (or even a large part) of your product’s design to fix a flaw just means you have to print a new prototype. It’s easy to do and design changes are as easy as adjusting the printer plans you’ve already created. 

Being able to print your own prototypes gives you a whole host of new possibilities. In addition to being able to see each design iteration, you’ll also be able to print prototypes for customers or investors to look at or take with them. You’re the one in control of the prototyping process when you use a 3D printer because you have the power to create whatever you need. That’s a big deal.

2. Use Your Printer To Drum Up Interest

Customers love freebies, it’s a fact. Whether it’s a free gift with purchase or a token of appreciation when you give your customers something their loyalty for your business will increase. So offer them something they actually can’t get somewhere else and 3D print your logo onto something. 

When you can offer a unique freebie, even something fairly minor like a coaster or business card that you have 3D printed in-house you will not only save money on incidental free gifts but you will have created something buzzworthy. When the word gets out that you’re offering something no one else can people are going to want to hop on that bandwagon!

If you create demand for your freebie, you can create demand for your business. Consider printing your token in multiple colors. That way your regular customers can collect them. (Perhaps when they have a full set they could earn a special discount?) 

By rewarding loyal customers giving them something you have 3D printed yourself, you could see a big boost in your business. Show your customers a little appreciation in the form of a freebie and it’s a safe bet they will appreciate you right back. 

3. Offer Up Your Printer 

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It may seem strange to think about purchasing a 3D printer for your business especially if 3D printing doesn’t make much sense with your mission. But while 3D printing has a serious fan base in the general public a majority of people have never 3D printed before. 

Therefore it could be fun to offer your customers a chance to print something of their own with purchase. Let’s say you’re in the food or hospitality industry, you could have a promotion where if someone buys lunch they can also print something in 3D. 

There are many things you can 3D print in as little as 10 minutes which really isn’t that much time if you’re sitting down for a cup of coffee in a cafe. While this might seem a little gimmicky at first that 3D printer investment could pay off in a big way in drumming up customers and building interest in your business. 

4. Small Batch Manufacturing 

Even if you aren’t a manufacturing company, a 3D printer can be helpful to print a small inventory of what is needed. While of course there are large companies you can order pieces from it could be incredibly handy for your business to be able to print things you need on your own printer. 

Why would you keep paying for someone else to 3D print your stuff for you when you can do it yourself and save money? Think about whether having a printer can benefit your bottom line and save you time running around looking for things you can quickly print on your own. 

Especially if you find yourself in need of replacement parts frequently, you stand to benefit from printing your own. When you control the quality of the parts you need you can quickly get back to work instead of waiting for a replacement to arrive. 

5. Build A Little Farm  

Slowly we are going to start seeing 3D printing farms popping up the way of old school copy centers. As consumers start to see the benefits of 3D printing they are going to want in on the fun and see the technology for themselves. So it isn’t so far fetched to think you may want to offer customer’s the chance to print as needed by the public.

It would be an easy addition to many small businesses. Obviously, you can use the printers when needed as well, but when they aren’t in use for your prototypes you can set a pricing scale for those who would like to print. It’s a good way to earn some extra income and spread the love of 3D printing around. 

Conclusion: 

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Having a 3D printer for your business can be incredibly beneficial for both your own bottom line and your relationship with customers. No longer are 3D printers only for big businesses and factories. Make sure your small business doesn’t fall behind, consider how much 3D printing technology can help you succeed. 

Madeline Dudziak’s Bio:

Madeline Dudziak loves words. As a web content creator, she crafts messages that help clients inform, educate, persuade, or connect. Madeline’s also a freelance theater reviewer for the River Cities’ Reader, which combines her passion for writing with her passion for theatre. 

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Embroidery machine, with 3D, printed parts

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According to Hackaday, “Embroidery machine, with 3D, printed parts. Arduino components combined with 3D printed parts. OpenBuilds® V-Slot Belt & Pinion System.Such as an Arduino and stepper drivers for an economical DIY solution. It’s not shown in the photo here, but we particularly like the 3D printed sockets that are screwed into the tabletop. These hold the sewing machine’s “feet”, and allow it to be treated like a modular component that can easily be removed and used normally when needed.”

V-Slot™ Belt & Pinion Example Build

OpenBuilds

AND HE COULD HAVE BEEN THE FATHER OF 3D PRINTING

The Lightyear One is 3D printed

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More than 55 interior parts for the Lightyear One are 3D printed.
According to Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear announces and Robert Llewellyn, ” gets an exclusive first look at the Lightyear One hyper-efficient luxury sedan, a partially solar-powered electric car. And gets to experience it as one of the first passengers!

When Solar Team Eindhoven won the world solar challenge in Australia driving a 4 seater 100% solar-powered car over 3,000 kilometers, no one would have believed that a handful of years later they could come up with this.
Lightyear One. A spacious hyper-efficient partially solar-powered electric car.
We know the future is electric, could it be solar electric.”

 

 

 

 

Always charging in the sun. Longest range. Most sustainable.

Fabbaloo

Request a free 3D print sample part

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Request a free 3D print sample part.

Please read our policies before requesting the sample:)
According to the Formlabs, “stereolithography (SLA) print process, and see how Formlabs prints compare to parts made from an extrusion-based fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer:

Form 1+ is a stereolithography 3D printer. Today, we’re going to look at how it works and put it to the test against parts from an extrusion-based machine.

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the printer. When we open up the light blocking cover, we can see a build platform inside. This metal plate is where the parts are made.

Underneath the build platform is a liquid resin tank. This clear window gives the ultraviolet laser a path to cure the resin.

To start a print, we’ll upload a file, and fill up the resin tank to the indicator line. You can see the laser passing back and forth inside, hardening the liquid plastic.

Now, We’ll take our print out and wash it in rubbing alcohol to get the excess resin off. The flower comes with supports on it, and we’ll snip them off to finish the piece.

Stereolithography is known for producing extreme detail, with layers down to four times finer than a human hair.

The Form 1+ lets us take advantage of a library of materials, so we made some other parts to show what these resins can do.

A Castable Resin gives jewelers and engineers an inexpensive way to produce metal parts. This Flexible Resin is great for simulating different textures and as we can see, this Tough Resin and can really take a hit”.

 

Request a free sample part

 

3D-printed Nintendo Switch

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According to All3dp and Howchoo, “In this video, I’ll teach you how to build your own Nintendo Switch mini arcade cabinet using a 3D printer and some other basic electronics. This cabinet will even charge your Switch while you play.”

[Project] 3D Print Your Own Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet

Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet

PRODUCTS

2019 Best Online 3D Printing Services

3D Printing News Alert(3D-Printed Applications at New Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence)

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According to Peter Adams, President, Co-founder of Burloak Technologies, Scott Phillips, President, and CEO of Sciaky, Inc.”The approach we are taking in bringing a customer’s application to market is unique in the industry, with the most complete collection of capabilities, equipment, and resources all under one roof. With so many complex decisions and technical considerations, Burloak delivers technology-agnostic solutions to provide customers the fastest, most direct path to success in 3D printing for their project. We start by helping a customer build a business case, collaborating on design and prototyping, and finally, by helping to move to full-scale production. “Sciaky’s EBAM systems are the most widely sold large-scale metal 3D printing system in the world, having qualified parts on land, sea, air, and space applications. The innovators at Burloak Technologies will leverage the numerous benefits of EBAM to produce faster and cheaper parts for their customers all across the globe.”

https://www.samuel.com/

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https://finance.yahoo.com/news/burloak-technologies-offers-industrys-most-204700187.html

Fab lab hub for 3D Printing

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The brightest minds in DigiFab learning to expand your interaction with innovative education and workforce training communities!

According to Fab Lab Hub founder Sarah Boisvert who organizes the conference, “DigiFabCon is thrilled to be in Pittsburgh with its vibrant additive manufacturing community and engaged STEM ecosystem. America Makes recognizes that a trained workforce is essential to the adoption of new disruptive technologies and their new programs that include certifications and Digital Badges are key to Industry 4.0’s success”.

The wire feed 3D printing

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According to researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Andrzej Nycz and Voestalpine Böhler Welding, “We achieved a precise geometry for the components by using real-time feedback sensors to correct for abnormalities. Because metal printed walls represent the basic building blocks of parts manufactured with big area additive manufacturing, we expect the same stable properties to hold for parts printed with complex geometries. Not so heavy metal. A good example is wire-feed 3D printing. Mechanical postprocessing like milling and lathing is almost always necessary. Typical fields of applications are automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, tool making as well as service and maintenance. This additive manufacturing (AM) technique is finding favor in industries like aerospace and heavy equipment, where oversized, monolithic structures are desirable.

The Additive Report has posted numerous stories on wire-feed AM systems in the past two months.
Metallic 3D Printing (M3DP) is a Wire and Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process and works with a plasma arc and welding wire. The plasma torch is moved by a CNC gantry system along an arbitrary path and creates a weld pool on a substrate plate. A material deposition is achieved by adding wire into the weld pool. The desired part can be generated by putting one deposition over the previous one”.

https://www.voestalpine.com

https://www.ornl.gov

Air NZ uses a 3D printer for speedy

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Air NZ uses a 3D printer for speedy. According to Air New Zealand,” has teamed up with components and systems provider Moog, Microsoft and ST Engineering on a world-first experiment which has the potential to transform aerospace supply chains by leveraging 3D printing and Moog’s blockchain enabled VeriPart™ process to create a point of use, time of need a digital supply chain.

The proof of concept has seen Air New Zealand order a digital aircraft part file from Singapore-based ST Engineering. The digital file was immediately sent to an approved printer, operated by Moog in Los Angeles, downloaded and 3D printed before being installed within hours on an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 aircraft ahead of its scheduled departure”.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz

3D Printing News Alert(3D Printers for larger parts production)

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According to Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs, “The printers also feature a new process the company calls Low Force Stereolithography (LFS), an advanced form of stereolithography that “delivers consistently flawless parts by adapting to your part’s geometry to deliver the perfect balance of detail and speed. We entered the industry seven years ago with the first powerful, affordable desktop SLA 3D printer, and since then have shipped more than 40,000 printers, and our customers have printed more than 40 million parts. Now users are leading the way in how to grow 3D printing from one machine to many, from prototyping tool to game changer. We’re excited to take another huge leap forward with LFS 3D printing.”