3D Printing

5 reasons to use a 3D printing partner

By April 6, 2022
People at office desk

Outsourcing production to an experienced 3D printing partner can make all the difference in your final product. Here’s what you need to know.

Today, the 3D printing market is larger than ever, and it’s still growing as more and more people explore its many advantages. 3D printing offers quick turnaround times, relatively low costs, and increased flexibility, making it an attractive manufacturing option for teams in a variety of sectors, from the automotive industry to medical modeling companies.

Despite all the benefits, buying a 3D printer isn’t automatically the best option for everyone. Not only does it require a significant initial investment in equipment and materials, but negotiating operational costs can also be challenging. Plus, it can be expensive and time-consuming to implement the new technology and hire engineers with the necessary technical expertise. That’s where outsourcing your projects to a 3D printing service partner can help. Here are five reasons to use a 3D printing partner.

5 reasons to outsource manufacturing to a 3D printing partner

1. Access to more materials

Most consumer 3D printers only use light-sensitive resin or plastic filaments like acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), but 3D printing providers have industrial-grade printers and offer a wider variety of materials. If your project has specific mechanical, chemical, or aesthetic needs, it’s best to use a 3D printing partner.

Even if the material you need is relatively common, you may face challenges printing. Acquiring materials can be more expensive than ordering a printed part, and some materials or printing processes are not safe to use in office environments. When you use a printing partner, you won’t have to worry about buying, storing, and eventually disposing of an entire spool of a material you’ll only use once. Plus, your partner will have dedicated manufacturing areas and safety procedures for technologies and materials that your facilities may otherwise restrict you from using.

At Fast Radius, we have a wide range of materials available for 3D printing, from EPX 82 to PA 12 (Nylon 12) to acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA). And we’re always adding more.

2. Access to a larger range of post-processing options

Using a 3D printing partner grants you access to a wider variety of finishing options, helping you create a final product that matches your vision. For example, at Fast Radius, depending on the process, we offer smoothing, painting, bead blasting, hydrographics, laser etching, laser surface decorating, digital texturing, press-fit inserts, heat staking inserts, black dyeing, helicoil inserts, and sanding.

While every material and 3D printing process can’t be compatible with every post-processing technique, a good partner will be able to advise you on which post-processing techniques will work best with your part’s material and functional requirements.

3. The ability to print various sizes

Not only can a 3D printing partner help you meet high levels of consumer demand and ensure reasonable lead times, but they can also offer you more flexibility when it comes to print sizes. 3D printing service partners have a selection of 3D printers, including ones with larger build plates than those you’d find in a desktop 3D printing machine. Instead of printing a part in multiple segments, you may be able to order your print from your 3D printing service in one piece. You can also order extremely small prints from a 3D printing partner, as they’ll have more sophisticated printers and expert technicians capable of producing intricate details.

Fast Radius’s printers support various build volumes including:

4. Increased scalability

3D printing is widely used for prototyping and low- to mid-volume production runs, but many product teams don’t know that 3D printing can be used for mass production as well. To produce a large number of parts quickly without compromising quality or adapt your production needs to meet fluctuating customer demand, you should connect with a 3D printing partner. Your partner may have the equipment to support high-volume production runs, and you’ll even be able to print parts on-demand, eliminating the need for additional storage warehouses. This also gives you the freedom to rapidly scale up or down.

5. Access to experts and higher quality parts

Between the advanced, industrial-grade machinery and the insights provided by industry experts, parts printed by a professional 3D printing partner will be more consistent, have tighter tolerances, and look more professional than those printed with consumer-grade printers.

In addition, the insights of expert engineers and technicians can be highly valuable to the 3D printing process. The optimal method for printing the same part can vary widely from technology to technology, and not every part is well suited for the same type of 3D printing. The expertise specialized professionals have about part orientation, process parameters, and design for additive manufacturing can help you overcome technical challenges, saving you time and money in the long run and helping you produce the best possible part for your budget and timeline.

3D printing with Fast Radius

When you work with an experienced 3D printing partner, you’ll be able to access more materials and post-processing options, take advantage of higher quality printers, and unlock key insights from 3D printing experts. This will help you quickly and cost-effectively create high-quality parts that meet your consumers’ expectations.

If you’re looking for a 3D printing partner, Fast Radius is ready to help. We can guide you through the entire production process, from design to fulfillment, and we have a team of experts and industrial-grade machines to ensure your parts are made to your specifications. Ready to see what Fast Radius can do for you? Contact us today.

Visit our resource center for information on choosing the right 3D printing technology, the costs of 3D printing, and more.

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