Right off the need for rapid prototyping companies may not be obvious, or you may think that 3D printing services are limited to only a few applications but there are a lot of uses for 3D printing and 3D scanning technology. Believe it or not 3D printing is starting to make in-roads on traditional manufacturing techniques, mainly for lower runs, and is also creating whole new sectors selling products that wouldn’t have been practical in the past.
3D printing can be easily used to print bespoke items, these can be based on a standard design but easily adapted in simple CAD software either completely bespoke each time or using a wide range of settings for different parts of a product. This then can be seen as a step forward from bespoke printing on to items and is of course ideal for gift items: especially for people who aren’t highly price sensitive.
With 3D printing service that also take advantage of 3D scanning technology there is even more potential for unique one off items such as giftware, how about a figurine of your child or pooch for example? Rapid prototyping companies have the skills and equipment to create anything you can imagine, across various industries from large scale to consumer level.
3D systems who are the global leader in 3D printers sell a massive range of printers from ones that can produce very large pieces such as entire dashboards for vehicles to those that are smaller and designed to be fast, accurate or both. Then there are those aimed at small businesses and individuals to have there own 3D printing service at home or in the office.
3D printing has its roots in Rapid prototyping as does 3D systems who still sell a lot to those who offer 3D printing services or to those who have a 3D printer in house. In house this will be an integral part of their design process for printing out highly accurate parts and models quickly that can then be used in internal testing, design and consumer testing and feedback.
Small businesses now can compete much more easily with larger company’s R & D departments using 3D printing based rapid prototyping; using a 3D scanner as well it is possible to quickly reverse engineer a product and come up with you8r own version.
For many rapid prototyping companies their days may be numbered for small model making in fact as 3D printers keep coming down in price thanks to the aggressive tactics of 3D systems. 3D systems have bought a lot of technology recently with take over’s such as that of ZCorp: a competitor who offered fast full color 3D printing.
3D systems obviously see 3D printers as a mass market product and as well as bringing prices down across the board, including for the printing materials they produce for their printers, they have focused on bringing out low cost entry level units. The Cube is 3D Systems latest offering and this is truly a desktop 3D printer and even the price is little more than that of top end desktop printers.
These small entry level printers look set to become popular with individuals and small businesses and people can potentially design their own items and manufacturer them at home. Other potential uses though include manufacturing replacement parts for everything from your full sized car to a broken model car; use in schools will be ideal for encouraging the teaching of CAD skills which themselves will be in high demand in 3D printing really takes off.