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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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Relativity Space to build the first rocket 3D Printing factory

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With backing from NASA, rocket startup Relativity Space is creating the first autonomous rocket factory. The company is planning to produce 95% of rocket components with 3D printing, and the first orbital launch is expected in late 2020.

 

This is a guest contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop

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Source: www.relativityspace.com

The new agreement will provide the California-based startup with exclusive access to NASA’s infrastructure and financial aid from the Mississippi Development Authority for building a large-scale highly automated 3D printing rocket factory. The company will lease a 20,000-square-meter building at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center for nine years. The test stands and all the necessary equipment on the site allow for convenient engine testing. The agreement provides an option to extend the lease for another 10 years. The company aims to create 200 jobs and invest $59 million in the state. In exchange, the state of Mississippi offers a reimbursement of expenses and a tax incentive package.

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The new factory will produce Relativity Space’s first 3D printed rocket – Terran 1. This vehicle can carry up to 2,756 lbs. into low Earth orbit. Both stages will be powered by 3D printed Aeon engines fueled by methane and liquid oxygen. The first stage will be powered by nine engines, stage two will be equipped with only one. The rocket is priced at $10 million per launch. It is expected that due to the use of the 3D printing technology the manufacturing cycle will not exceed 60 days. 

Although the company is planning to construct its own launch facility, the first rockets will be launched from Cape Canaveral. The launchpad and all the supporting infrastructure will be provided by the U.S. Air Force. The company was allowed to use Launch Complex (LC) 16, which was built for tests of Titan I and Titan II, and then Pershing I and Pershing II missiles. The last launch took place there in 1988. 

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Source: www.relativityspace.com

Most of the metal parts will be manufactured by Stargate, Relativity Space’s first 3D printer. The scalable system features multi-axis robotic arms with lasers. The machine uses metal wire feedstock as a printing material. In February 2019, Relativity Space was granted a machine learning 3D metal printing patent, issued for “real-time adaptive control of additive manufacturing processes using machine learning” (US20180341248A1).

“This agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low Earth orbit. This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the Moon by 2024,” said Rick Gilbrech, director of  Stennis Space Center. “Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership.”

The first orbital launch is expected in 2020. The company is planning to enter the commercial market in 2021.

 

First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station

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First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space StationFirst living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station

This is a guest post contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop.

First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station
This is a guest post contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop.

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The Top 3D Expo Conference which took place in Moscow on April 19 demonstrated a revolutionary bioprinter that was previously sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to manufacture living tissues and organ under zero gravity. Yusef Khesuani, the managing partner and co-founder of the 3D Bioprinting Solutions Company, presented and told many interesting facts about their brainchild.

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A 3D bioprinter named Organ.Aut was transported to the ISS on December 3, 2018, where it was used to carry out several biomedical experiments in orbit.

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Application in medicine

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Using this 3D bioprinter, Oleg Kononenko, a Russian astronaut, successfully manufactured several types of living tissue, namely, the cartilage tissue of a human and the thyroid of a mouse.

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The results of these experiments with 3D-printing were 12 biological samples which then were sent to the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions, responsible for conducting further research.

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3D printing in zero gravity state empowers modern science to create tissues and organs for transplantation while helping to avoid the limitations of terrestrial gravitation and test new methods of printing complicated kinds of tissue from living cells.

In autumn 2019, it is planned to send to orbit special synthetic ceramic materials, which will be utilized to fabricate implants with the help of 3D printing technologies. Such implants will facilitate the regeneration of bone tissue in patients with serious injuries.

Application in foodstuff manufacturing

Apart from benefiting science and medicine, bioprinting can go much further and find application in food production, too. 3D Bioprinting Solutions together with foreign partners, bio-technological startups from different countries, are already working in this direction.

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They are studying the cultivation of artificial beef, blue tuna, and salmon from living cells. If these experiments succeed, in the measurable future, we will be able to produce cruelty-free, eco-friendly, technological-powered and, most important, inexpensive meat on a wholesale scale! The company received samples from its partners and now is testing them in terms of meeting technical requirements necessary for sending these samples to the ISS with a 3D printer onboard.

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Organ.Aut

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Organ.Aut is a bioprinter designed specifically to work with biological tissue (such as living cells in nutrient liquid) in space.

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This 3D bioprinter manages printing materials using magnet fields in order to form their structures, not layer by layer as is normally the case with FDM solutions, but from all the sides simultaneously.

In addition to the 3D bioprinter for space, the company also produces biological 3D printers which can be used on Earth.

FABION 2

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FABION 2 is an updated version of the company’s previous model – a basic bioprinter FABION able to print biological tissues using bio-inks and hydrogels of different consistencies and compositions. FABION 2 ensures high cell density and high level of synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins within spheroids, which provides for the creation of highly viable and fully functional tissue constructs.

At the Conference

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At the exhibition conference, visitors could see Organ.Aut and other cutting-edge equipment for 3D printing and scanning as well as listen to interesting reports from the field experts.

For instance, the head of 3D Bioprinting Solutions not only demonstrated the bioprinter and explained in simple words the principle of its work, but also gave a talk on the topic: “3D-bioprinting: its past, present, future”, under which, he speculated on the development of bioprinting in the world – how it was invented, its current situation, and prospects.