Graphics Programs Reference
makes these short production runs a possibility. The cost and lead-time savings are con-
• It is possible to print parts and even assemblies in different colours with some 3D
Printers. Additionally, selected 3D printers can print two different materials.
• 3D printed parts can be surface finished and painted as well as drilled, tapped and
sanded down - all ideal for presentation purposes.
• 3D Printed parts can be used at various stages in the product development process.
• Engineers can better communicate their design thinking by enabling others to
handle components and assemblies. Ergonomics and function can be checked and
refined, particularly for moving parts.
• Design engineers and production technicians can gear up for manufacturing , plan-
ning and resolving potential issues long before any material is cut. Avoiding defects,
scrap and rework means lead-time and cost savings can be considerable.
• Obtain buy-in , explain proposals and assist decision-making for non-technical em-
• They can also assist concept testing, helping to obtain feedback from the market,
clients and users.
• 3D Printing, often in conjunction with traditional model making, can produce pro-
fessional mock-ups for exhibitions and trade shows.
• Designing for 3D Printing - Hints and Tips
Don't just assume because you can use 3D CAD, your 3D model will produce the best
possible 3D parts or assemblies. Instead, some knowledge will increase the chances of
your prototypes being fit for purpose when they are printed. A little further research can
probably help here. Print Bureaus can also advise and assist at this point.
• Consider the best orientation for printing strong parts, layer-by-layer. For example
cylindrical components will be stronger printed upright, rather than on their sides.
• Consider the minimum wall thickness recommended for your intended 3D Printing