3D printing is a manufacturing technology that creates three-dimensional objects by layering materials in succession according to 3D digital models. And, although the technology itself has been around for a while, 3D printing has essentially reached its inflection point.
3D printing, as well as the additive manufacturing process, has been around as a prototyping option for decades, but recently became a viable option for manufacturing applications. Roberson Machine Company recently boosted our manufacturing capabilities by acquiring a new 3D printer. Despite its growing popularity, some still underestimate the capabilities of 3D printing. We’ll help separate fact from fiction within the following common myths:
MYTH 1: 3D-Printed Parts Are More Expensive
This idea probably became a myth based on how expensive 3D printing was the year it was invented… 1984 by Chuck Hall. Back then, the price of a 3D printer easily reached six digits. Now though, the cost can fit into most every budget. The materials used range in price, although the plastics and fibers we use are cost-friendly and top-notch.
MYTH 2: 3D Printing is Still an Unstable Industry
In 2001 the 3D printing industry exceeded $10.6 billion, growing by more than $1.5 billion each of the last two years. It is estimated that by 2026, the industry will reach $41 billion. Not to worry, 3D printing is stable. It will transform every industry and change the way we live, work, and play in the future.
MYTH 3: 3D Printers Can Make Anything
A common misconception about 3D printing is the idea that 3D printers can make anything. However, just like other manufacturing processes, 3D printing has its limitations. Sadly, cute and cuddly kittens are included in those limitations. However, the list of 3D printable items is by no means small. Companies are constantly developing new materials and machines to push the limits of 3D printing – including houses, chocolates, and even chewing gum.
MYTH 4: 3D Printers Are Faster Than Any Other Process
3D printing is often promoted as a rapid prototyping process, but that doesn’t mean it’s a rapid manufacturing process. That would be left to our CNC machining services. 3D printing retains the same speed per unit regardless of the number of units. It is great for small scale production or prototyping but, on a large scale, it’s rather impractical and inefficient in comparison to our CNC manufacturing processes.
MYTH 5: 3D Printers Do Not Make Strong Components
Frequently, these myths are perpetuated by people that believe 3D printers can only make weak, frail parts. This is simply not true. From top-quality plastics to fine metals, Roberson Machine Company uses only the best materials for our 3D printing services. 3D printables with wide layers or high infill have increased layer adhesion and improved solidity that result in strong components.
MYTH 6: Every Home and Business Will Soon Have a 3D Printer
While this may be a great idea, the logistics just don’t make sense. Yet. Many times, people equate 3D printers with typical inkjet home or office printers. Drawing this comparison leads some to believe that soon every home and business will have a 3D printer, much like the popularity of paper printers. However, at least right now, 3D printers pose a level of difficulty not everyone wants to deal with. Thankfully, businesses have the ability to get an online quote and lead time from Roberson Machine Company in minutes.
MYTH 7: 3D Printing is Only For Dull Techies
Easy, there. 3D printers are practical machines that help doctors, engineers, designers, tradesmen, tinkerers, and students bring ideas to life. Just like a drill or a lathe, a 3D printer is a tool that our machinists specialize in.
What Are the Myths Surrounding 3D Printing? | Roberson Machine Company
The future is truly fascinating when it comes to what 3D printing can accomplish. We have already seen the efficiencies and enhancements to our single-source manufacturer capabilities since we purchased our new machine. We hope you’ll try our services, including our tried-and-true CNC machining, and keep coming back.