As we progress around Industry 4.0 and the modernization of the manufacturing domain, business owners now have access to several options. Among those, 3d printing technology is on the top of the list as it offers omnichannel benefits to the manufacturing firms.
That time is gone where only a few companies used to own a 3d printer for their in-house prototyping and production. However, today business owners now have access to both affordable 3d printers and 3d printing services. Picking one option from these available choices sometimes becomes overwhelming for companies.
To cut the air of confusion, we have brought a side by side comparison. Check out whether you should buy the best 3d printer or opt for professional additive manufacturing services.
The Basics of 3D Printing
3d printing, or additive manufacturing, is a 3d print a solid object from a digital CAD file. In this additive process, the machine 3d prints objects by laying down layers of materials until the thing is fully complete. It is the opposite of the traditional ‘subtractive process’, including cutting or hollowing out the material block.
The image used for illustration purposes. Zeal 3D Printing is not the owner or creator of the image. (Image Source: Minkus on Unsplash)
Types of 3d printing technologies
Several technologies are available in the market to cater to different 3d printing services across industries. Following are the types of additive manufacturing methods accessible in the market to boost your business:
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
- Digital Light Process (DLP)
- Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
- Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
- Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
The Basics of 3D Printer
With vast availability, you will find plenty of high-end and affordable 3d printer options that can accomplish your every manufacturing requirement. Multiple 3d printers are available that run on the above technologies.
If you plan to buy a 3d printer for personal or very small-scale use, you should go for FDM technology printers. These are affordable and easy to use for essential prototyping and design printing. However, if you need a professional printer supporting multiple colours and intricate design printing, you can go for MJF or PolyJet printers.
The 3d printer price increases as you go up with configuration and specifications. If you are into metal-based manufacturing then, you can go for DMLS printers. These are industrial printers that are more expensive than personal printers.
3d printer vs 3d printing
Now, the main question is — should you buy a 3d printer to take advantage of the professional and affordable 3d printing services. Check out the full benefits of both the facilities to decide better:
The image used for illustration purposes. Zeal 3D Printing is not the owner or creator of the image. (Image Source: kynny/iStockphoto)
Benefits of 3d printing services
Opting for the best 3d printing service comes with several advantages that outperform the need of owning a printer in-house.
You leverage experience
The most significant benefit of choosing 3d printing services over a printer is that you get the experience of working for years. On the other side buying a 3d printer is only one thing; you also need to learn how to use it. It will consume more time, resources and capital. That’s why it’s always good to go for 3d printing services, and you can expect excellent quality with a shorter turnaround.
Access to the latest printers
3d printer cost varies as per the configuration, but you don’t need to worry about it when you outsource your work. The additive manufacturing company will leverage the best available modern printers to craft your design at an affordable price. On the flip side, once you invest money into one printer, it becomes a burden on the company to buy another as they are expensive.
No in-house expenses
When you buy a 3d printer, it comes with several in-house expenses to take full advantage of the machine. Along with training costs, you need to buy 3d printing consumables and support structures for effective printing. 3d printers require periodic maintenance to ensure they deliver their optimum performance, and you need to hire someone for the same. It’s the main reason why 3d printing costs less money than owning a 3d printer.
The image used for illustration purposes. Zeal 3D Printing is not the owner or creator of the image. (Image Source: Getty)
Advantages of Using a 3D Printer
Owning a 3d printer comes with a particular set of advantages that gives you the option for on-demand service with a shorter turnaround time. Check out whether these benefits are profitable for your business.
Faster turnaround time
Having an in-house printer lets you print objects with a quicker turnaround once your team learns to use the machine. Depending on the size, you can print objects within a few hours. However, many companies offer you instant 3d printing quotes, and they deliver you the products within a few days. If you are doing some research-specific work, only then owning a printer is functional.
If you enjoy trying new technologies in your business without prior experience, then you can go for a 3d printer. You can go for a basic FDM 3d printer to start learning the nitty-gritty of additive manufacturing technology. On the other side, if you are not doing everything by yourself, opting for 3d printing services makes more sense.
|Check Points||3d Printing Services||3d printer|
|3. Upfront Price||No upfront investment||You need to pay upfront cost|
|4. In-house Expenses||No in-house expenses||Recurring in-house expenses|
|5. Experience Needed||No 3d printing experience needed||Prior Training needed|
Although affordable 3d printers are available in the market, it comes with multiple additional things that you need to handle along with it. Be its high upfront cost, maintenance, or training & learning curve — you will need to invest both capital and time. On the other side, you can quickly get a custom 3d printing quote for your requirement and get things rolling in no time.
Several companies are not offering on-demand faster 3d print service in Melbourne, Sydney and other areas to match up the growing demands. So, turnaround time and quality are not matters of concern anymore.
However, if you are into research work and need to test out designs, owning a 3d printer will bring you convenience. In this scenario, you have to spend more comparatively going for professional 3d printing services.