Figuring out how to best implement 3D printing into an established production workflow can be tricky. In many cases, a trial & error approach can prove costly and fail to bring the desired results. Fortunately, there is now sufficient literature available that can help to avoid mistakes and establish a clear ROI strategy right from the start. Few companies have done more in this regard than Formlabs did by introducing a reliable, high-quality stereolithographic (SLA) technology that just about any business can easily afford.
That is why we have partnered with Formlabs, the global leader in affordable stereolithography, to bring you a series of three White Papers that can help you identify and reap the benefits of introducing 3D printing into any production workflow. Within the company’s vast library of successful case histories, analyses and research papers, we identified the topics that were most relevant to help current and potential AM adopters face the challenges of moving toward a fully digital, additive production workflow.
Three keys to 3D
In these three White Papers, you will learn about maximizing your return on investment, optimizing a part design for 3D printing and managing multiple 3D printers to move into full digital production—three fundamental steps to prepare for challenges of digital manufacturing and fully reap its benefits.
First and foremost is knowing whether using 3D printing in a part’s production workflow will bring a return on the initial investment (ROI). The relatively low initial capital required to fully install Formlabs systems makes them ideal tools to begin to accurately assess the ROI. In this first Formlabs White Paper, titled “How to Calculate ROI with 3D Printing,” several elements will be taken into consideration. These include improvements in time to market as well as effective cost reductions on prototyping and tooling. All will be thoroughly analyzed, culminating in an accurate evaluation of cost per part, in this document.
Once the ROI has been established, the second of the Formlabs White Papers, titled “Engineering Fit: Optimizing Design for Functional 3D Printed Assemblies,” will analyze and illustrate the properties that a part needs to have to fully benefit from being 3D printed.
This document begins by illustrating how tolerance and fit are essential concepts that engineers use to optimize the functionality of mechanical assemblies and the cost of production. Through an accurate 13-page study of materials and process accuracy, it is possible to maximize repeatability between prints and across printers. The data and best practices in this white paper can help Form 2 users to design functional assemblies that work as intended, with the least amount of post-processing or trial-and-error.
Finally, once the specific requirements and benefits of using 3D printing have been fully validated for production workflows, the third of the Formlabs White Papers, titled “Managing Multiple 3D Printers,” will explain how to create a FormCell in-house facility for rapid prototyping and low-volume part production.
The 17-page document takes into consideration all aspects and requirements for implementing an in-house digital production facility. These span several different phases and stations that complete the digital production process, from set up and management to part design and post-processing. Elements such as setting up computers for the part design process, or curing and finishing stations for completing a final part, are just as relevant as the 3D printing process itself.