The product design industry has turned on its head in only a few short years. Every product — from high-end automotive parts to shampoo bottles — goes through multiple prototypes and design iterations. Traditional manufacturing, like injection moulding, has traditionally made low-volume, accurate prototyping costly and time-consuming. 3D printing has revolutionised the product design landscape. 3D printers allow designers and engineers to produce functional, high-detail prototypes in a matter of hours at a fraction of the earlier cost.
How 3D Printing Help Industrial Product Designers
Get products to market faster with rapid prototyping
Cut manufacturing and shipping costs with in-house production
Push the limits of your products with greater design freedom
Turn existing products into editable digital CAD files
Additive manufacturing was initially known simply as “rapid prototyping.” This early name highlights how 3D printing is a perfect fit for product design. Various desktop-sized 3D printing technologies enable companies of all sizes to cut prototyping costs, test new product concepts faster, and reduce time-to-market.
Iterate on Designs Faster and Cheaper Than Ever Before
Traditional manufacturing often has long lead times that slow down the design process. 3D printers can produce accurate, functional prototypes overnight — or even faster. Print detailed prototypes in hours and let you move on through the design process faster.
Iterate on Designs Faster
3D printers make customising product designs fast and simple. There are no physical objects before printing — you can store your designs as digital 3D models. With 3D modelling and printing software, you can implement necessary changes instantly and start the print job for the next design iteration.
Make Changes Instantly
Conventional manufacturing methods introduce inherent limitations to part complexity. 3D printers can create intricate, highly complex geometries that are impossible to produce with traditional methods, such as hollow or latticed structures, overhangs, and interlocking parts. Explore new designs and shapes and create novel, innovative products.
Explore Innovative Shapes and Concepts
3D printing doesn’t require any of the expensive machinery, tooling, or moulds that traditional manufacturing relies on. You can create prototypes from different materials for a wide range of applications with a single 3D printer. On-demand manufacturing also enables low-volume production of parts and prototypes on demand, reducing the need to maintain inventory.
With the right 3D printer, you can produce fully functional prototypes out of life-like materials. Test and evaluate prototypes thoroughly during product design to ensure they feel and function exactly as intended. You’ll avoid costly retooling and manufacturing problems while delivering the highest quality products to your customers.
Avoid Design Flaws and Mistakes
How 3D Printers Help You in Design and Prototyping
No matter what products you manufacture, your design and prototyping processes stand to benefit from additive manufacturing. Incorporating 3D printers into your workflows will help you get your products to market faster and stay ahead of competitors with novel designs.
Every product begins its physical life as a prototype. Unfortunately, traditional manufacturing methods are ill-suited for fast design cycles. Their lead times are often counted in weeks and they’re not cost-effective solutions for producing individual or low-volume prototypes.
3D printers resolve this issue by enabling you to print prototypes in a matter of hours. You can implement a 24-hour design cycle — create a design during work hours, print it overnight, and evaluate the design the next day.
As a result, you can improve your productivity. Introduce new products to the marketplace faster without compromising their high quality.
Camper Revolutionises Shoe Design with 3D Printers
Camper is one of Spain’s most successful shoe companies, producing more than four million pairs a year. The company relied on traditional manufacturing to produce design prototypes. With lead times as long as two weeks, Camper designers struggled with their tight three-month deadlines.
To resolve the problem, Camper adopted the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer. The machine has revolutionised Camper’s workflow, allowing them to go from a digital design to a physical prototype in 24 hours. As a result, its designers are now free to push the limits of shoe design further than ever before.
“Working with BCN3D printers is very useful because if we have an idea in mind, together with a technician, we can obtain quick and direct results for the dimensions of components. This enhances our ability to be reactive,” said Job Willemsen, Senior Designer at Camper.
Cost and Risk Reduction
Prototyping is crucial for ensuring the highest possible quality of the final product. But the high costs of traditional manufacturing can make producing small batches of prototypes prohibitively expensive. This may lead to design flaws or errors and costly product revisions.
With 3D printers, manufacturers can produce accurate prototypes in-house at a significantly lower cost. You’ll realise significant savings not only in manufacturing expenses but also in shipping costs.
Additive manufacturing enables you to go through multiple design iterations in the same amount of time it would take to create one prototype with traditional methods. Simultaneously, you can perfect your product design to eliminate flaws and reduce risk.
Additive Manufacturing Slashes NoiseAware’s Prototyping Costs
NoiseAware manufactures noise monitoring and management systems for rental properties. As a start-up company, it couldn’t afford the initial sky-high prototyping costs. The firm needed another solution to improve its designs and ensure product performance.
It found that solution in Ultimaker 3D printers. The machine has reduced the cost per prototype from $800 to only $10. At the same time, it’s cut lead times from 5-15 days to 2-55 hours, significantly reducing risk.
“If we didn’t use 3D printing on Ultimaker to assist our product development, we’d either take 10 times longer to test the product — which opens the door for a competitor — or we’d roll the dice by going to a manufacturer with less testing under our belt,” said Garrett Dobbs, Head of Product at NoiseAware.
In fast-moving marketplaces, it’s vital for businesses to stand out from the crowd with innovative, cutting-edge products. Traditional manufacturing methods often come with severe limitations on the kinds of shapes and objects they can produce, hindering designers’ ability to create complex and eye-catching designs.
3D printing offers designs much greater freedom of design than traditional methods. 3D printers can create intricate and complex geometries that are impossible for injection moulding or CNC machining, for example. Among these shapes are interlocking objects, latticed structures, and objects-within-objects.
Armed with a 3D printer, you can explore new concepts and product designs that you simply haven’t been able to create before. With the low-cost, low-risk design process, you can create products that give you a competitive edge.
Vital Auto Takes Concept Cars to the Next Level
Vital Auto is at the forefront of the British car industry. The industrial design studio develops custom concept car components for clients such as Nissan, McLaren, and Volvo. However, conventional manufacturing isn’t suitable for producing low volumes of one-off parts that Vital Auto needs.
This is why they turned to the Formlabs Form 3L SLA 3D printer. The versatility of the machine and its variants allows Vital Auto to create the envelope-pushing designs its clients want and need. With three printers running simultaneously, the company can produce innovative part concepts at a low cost.
“There are many products we produce that we simply wouldn’t be able to without our Form 3Ls. With some of the most advanced manufacturing techniques, such as seven-axis CNC machining, we’d be able to produce these parts, but it would come at a huge compromising cost,” said Anthony Barnicott, Design Engineer at Vital Auto.
3D Scanning and Product Design
Additive manufacturing covers more technologies than 3D printing. 3D scanners, like Peel 3.CAD, allow manufacturers and designers to digitise existing objects into easily editable and 3D printable CAD files.
This technology opens new doors for designers by supporting traditional modelling methods. For example, manual clay modelling is common when designing automotive parts. With a 3D scanner, you can scan the handmade models into 3D files for clean-up and further processing.
3D scanners also make it simple to reverse engineer old parts created before the advent of 3D technologies. You can scan existing products into 3D files to produce improved designs or ensure the perfect fit of additional components.
Why Solid Print?
With your purchase from Solid Print3D, you are not only paying for the hardware, but the world-class support and training that we provide is made accessible to you. Whatever your requirement, we, as a leading UK reseller will aim to support you in the operation of your new machine.
World Class Support
At Solid Print, we pride ourselves on our honest, impartial advice and best-in-class solutions.
Our friendly support team are always on hand to listen and understand your exact requirements before we offer any solution. Solid Print support is provided by our own support engineers who are trained on all of our machines.
We work alongside our sister business Solid Solutions, the UK’s largest Solid Works reseller, offering seamless CAD to 3D Print support.
Plant Trees for Every Sale
At Solid Print, we have partnered with Ecologi who support projects across the world & fund the world’s best climate crisis solutions. Buying from us can help you uphold your pledge and commitments to sustainability.
We plant 50 trees on your behalf per machine sale and 1 per consumable sale. Ecologi supports our efforts to be a greener business and help you uphold your businesses sustainability commitments.
Check out our progress here.
Next Day Delivery on Consumables
We offer Next Day Delivery (order before 4pm) on all of our consumables and spare parts Monday to Friday, to England, Scotland & Wales, (Excluding Scottish Highlands & Islands).
Shop our consumables and spare parts here.