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3D Printing Vs Mold Manufacturing

by:Bofeng     2020-08-24
3D printing is having a large impact on quite a few industries across the globe. It plays a role within the medical industry. The jewelry business is impacted. Consumers are benefiting from 3D printing, as some products aren't distributed at the same scale as others. One other industry that takes a big hit in the positive direction would be the engineering industries across the globe. This form of manufacturing simply makes life easier for this line of work. Let me elaborate.
Traditionally, particular engineers would have specific parts ordered for very specific operations. For example, an engineer might only need 2-3 valve systems designed for an drilling operation. It definitely wouldn't be cost effective to have that cast manufactured overseas or at a local manufacturing plant; that style of manufacturing typically involves mass production of a product. Perhaps if an engineer was looking to create 500 - 5,000 models, he or she would be in a better situation. Unlike 3D printing, cast manufacturing typically isn't the best way to go about business. When a product is necessary in small quantities, it just wouldn't work! When NASA is constructing a rocket engine, there isn't a need for 100 widgets for success; it would look more like 2-3 of the same part. Cast manufacturing just doesn't have the edge on small scale manufacturing.
CNC cutting works for small scale manufacturing, right? Well, it really does in some projects. This method involves taking a block of a specific material, and cutting it up to form a specific shape with a CNC cutter. It may not be 3D printing, but this works very well in quite a few situations; however it does have its negatives. With CNC cutting, a blade comes down at a certain axis when cutting material. This means that nothing can be cut on a CNC machine without a blade coming straight down. Sure the material can be tilted while a blade comes down on it, but there are some limits. That feature only comes on the higher end machines as well. Some machines only offer cutting at a few angles, while more expensive machines offer more. Unfortunately, this limits what can be created through the CNC process. Regardless of how a block of material is angled, a blade must come straight down on the material. This limits what can be produced. With 3D printing, very organic products can be developed for engineers. If a product has to be incredibly curvy with a hollowed center, CNC cutting won't do the job. This form of manufacturing is heavily dependent on the geometry of the design, while 3D printing holds the edge.
Very intricate organic designs come through 3D printing at a small production scale. If an engineer needs 5-10 units, 3D printing can beat mold manufacturing or casting. If a product has almost any geometrically challenging aspects, CNC cutting just can't hold on. 3D printing has the capabilities to run over that style of manufacturing, as well as others through its layer by layer process. Almost anything can be manufacturing at a small scale!

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