3D Printing: What are its Impacts on Machining and Industrial Design?

For several years, various 3D technologies such as scanning or printing have been complementing traditional production processes. More generally, the use of new technologies is essential for machining and design companies that want to offer the best solutions to their customers.

For example, HARtech’s custom industrial machinery design department recently acquired a 3D scanner. We can now use 3D scanning to create complex parts, drafts, pieces and models.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why HARtech and other industrial companies are gravitating towards these new techniques.

What are the advantages of 3D printing?

3D printing (or 3D machining or 3D scanning) is a system that captures the characteristics of an object to form a three-dimensional model. This technology is based on obtaining a point cloud in space, or rather, fixing a series of grouped data points together in a coordinated action.

In other words, the scanner used for 3D machining projects a laser onto the object and records the distance between it (the scanner) and each point of the object (the model). The different information collected is then converted into a digital file. After obtaining the model in a digital file, 3D printing comes into play and allows the manufacturing of complex parts in a simplistic form.

What are the advantages of 3D printing?

There are different machining processes and 3D printing is a perfect solution to improve the quality of these.

3D machining software improves the quality and quantity of products thanks to these 5 main features:

  1. Minimal production flaws
  2. Cost efficiency
  3. Time management
  4. Freedom of design
  5. Usability of several different materials

1. Minimal production flaws

One of the main advantages of 3D machining is that it can produce a large number of complex parts and products with a very low number of errors. The precision of this method can sometimes approach precision machining.

In this way, shapes and parts can be modeled according to the customer’s needs in a very specific and personalized way.

2. Cost efficiency

3D printing is much more economical than other traditional manufacturing methods, especially when it comes to small series and drafts. This saving is made possible by simplifying the assembly of more complex parts.

3. Time management

Another advantage of 3D printing and machining is that the manufacturing process using these new technologies are exceptionally fast.

Even though printing a part after scanning it can take a few hours, production time is less than more traditional industrial design processes. So much so that products that used to take weeks or months to design and manufacture can now be released in a mere few days!

4. Endless design possibilities

3D printing pushes the boundaries of creativity. Indeed, another major advantage of industrial design prototyping by machining or 3D printing is its great design freedom. For example, the best 3D printers can design an infinite number of shapes and parts, even the most geometrically complex ones. The size of the product also doesn’t have limitations – scaling parts in order to complete a complex model is made possible with the technology of 3D printing.

5. A variety of usable materials

The range of materials that can be used on 3D printers is growing, with new materials being developed every day. Examples include plastic and resin for local molding and even metal alloys such as stainless steel or chrome cobalt to produce complex parts for demanding industries.

Growing use of 3D printing in various industries

It’s not just industrial companies that are benefiting from the rise of 3D machining services. In Quebec and around the world, the design of equipment and products using 3D machining is becoming more and more common. This includes:

  • Healthcare and rehabilitation: 3D printed prostheses have a great impact and are used in many countries. In dentistry, work is also being done to obtain plastic or wax parts for the construction of mobile prostheses.
  • Art and fashion: 3D printing is a great success in the art world by pushing the limits of the creation of forms and objects. Many brands are using the technology to make shoes, clothing, bags, accessories, and jewelry.
  • Education: Universities have always done their best to stay up to date with the latest technology in order to attract the best students and faculty. Today, professors and technicians use 3D technology to design new tools while students use these technologies to further their research.

3D printing or CNC machining?

Before determining which technique is right for you and your business, it is important to understand the differences between CNC machining and 3D printing processes.

CNC machining, or computer numerical control machining, is a subtractive manufacturing process. This means that CNC boring machines, which are connected to the machine using software embedded in a microcomputer, machines the parts by removing excess material. This process is more expensive than 3D machining but allows for a greater number of parts to be produced.

3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that creates an object from a digital design. This created object is then manufactured by gradually laying down thin layers of materials that are then fused together. This process facilitates the coordination of many data points in order to reflect the 3D object.

3D machining with HARtech

Whether it’s for your machining or machine maintenance and repair projects, our industrial design experts ensure that you take advantage of the best machines and technologies to meet your needs.

Do you need 3D machining specialists? Give us a call at 1-866-522-8282 or contact us by filling out our contact form if you have any questions about the services we offer in Quebec.

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