Should you buy a 3D printer or use plastic 3D printing service?Prototech
Is it better to buy a 3d printer or use a 3d printing service for plastic parts ? Basically, the answer depends on the frequency you will use it and also whether or not you can train your staff members to use it with ease. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that plastic 3D printing is much less attractive than traditional technologies of rapid prototyping.
3D printing and traditional technologies of plastic rapid prototyping
At this point, we may elaborate a comparison between three-dimensional printing and traditional manufacturing processes for plastics (read our article differences between rapid prototyping and 3D printing). First of all, 3D printing enables the making of complex geometries, which turn out to be a disadvantage as it doesn’t give insights about possible production infeasibilities during the industrial phase.
Therefore, traditional processes of rapid prototyping are more convenient as they are closer to injection plastics. Moreover, the resins used in plastic 3D printing are far from simulating the real material used in CNC machining. Indeed, the parts made from additive technologies won’t be functional as they will easily break if confronted to relatively demanding mechanical activities. What’s more, they age very badly and lose their color overtime.
What does plastic 3D printing service enable?
Additive production methods are usually recommended to manufacture simple plastic parts without functional needs. It is ideal to rapidly visualize a part in reality, but it cannot replace neither CNC machining nor vacuum casting. Moreover, 3D printing is not fit for small series.