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Is 3D printing for your project?

3D printing is a process with almost unlimited possibilities and you are only limited by your creativity. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consider your options particularly in the case of replication of off-the-shelf items or items with specific requirements.

First, what considerations will change whether you should have your item 3D printed or not?

  1. Is it available as an off-the-shelf item? - The availability of an off-the-shelf item is a crucial consideration when deciding whether to use 3D printing. If a suitable, ready-made product exists and meets your requirements, it may be more practical and cost-effective to purchase it directly rather than opting for custom 3D printing.

  2. Mechanical properties - will the parts meet the strength and durability requirements

  3. Tolerance and Accuracy - super tight tolerances may require a different process like CNC machining. (Typically .2mm or .008" is an acceptable tolerance for most materials)

  4. Surface Quality - printed objects have visible layer lines. Post processing can hide these. If this will not work for your project, selecting higher resolution or a different 3D printing process may be a better option.

  5.  Pricing - Several steps, including data processing, software setup, printer setup, material usage, and post-processing, influence the final price of each part.




Second, what main factors will play a role in pricing?

  1. 3D Design - design is charged by the hour

  2. Size of the part - effects material use and print time

  3. Material - material type is crucial for most applications

  4. Quantity - as quantity goes up prices will go down

  5. Complexity - geometry will change software  and post model processing


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