Rapid prototypers around the globe have been utilizing 3D printing to create manufacturing prototypes that help prove out design concepts and test part functionality. But rapid prototyping is only the beginning when it comes to the opportunities that are now available for 3D printing.
What else can 3D printing do for your business? Well, for one thing, making it faster and more cost effective to get started with plastic injection molding in the first place. A recent article in PlasticsNews has posited 3D printing as a viable alternative to steel or aluminum injection molds. Lighterweight, cheaper options for those looking to test out new product designs or to produce small batches of injection molded parts. While 3D printing still has a ways to go when it comes to injection molds (though cheaper and faster, the plastic molds are also more fragile and can only be used with lower heat, lower pressure materials) this new use promises great opportunities for businesses to test out concepts prior to investing in expensive metal molds.
NEW IDEAS FOR 3D PRINTING
Here at KASO, we are excited to see people coming up with inventive new ways to make use of 3D printing. KASO’s 3D printer at our Washington facility uses Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, printing technology. FDM works by extruding plastic layer by layer to create a finished part. The technology uses ABS and a host of other plastics materials, and finished parts are as much as 80% as strong as their injection molded component counterparts.
3D PRINTING AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO INJECTION MOLDING FOR SHORT RUN PRODUCTION
What does that mean for businesses today? It means 3D printing can be an excellent alternative to injection molding for short run production. Using FDM technology, you can now create products that have the same functionality as injection molded parts, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a couple hundred units or less. Create custom plastic parts and products using the technology, giving you the ultimate level of flexibility and agility when trying out new product designs.
Want to know if 3D printing is right for you? KASO’s skilled engineers can help answer all of your questions about 3D printing, materials selection, or injection molding.