17 May How 3D printing has helped shape industrial design
From ideas, to blueprints to tangible prototypes
Like many aspects of the modern world, technology has had an incomprehensible impact on industrial design and product manufacturing. As our technology improves, it seeks to cut away the inefficiencies of the manufacturing process, passing the time and cost savings to product designers.
3D printing has impacted and improved many aspects of industrial design. From rapid prototyping, to full scale manufacturing, this exciting technology will have far-reaching implications as a second wave Industrial Revolution.
Looking for superior industrial design in Melbourne? From market research, to designing and creating products, MOSS&SCHMIDT can assist you at every stage of the process.
What is 3D printing?
You may be familiar with the term from viral videos and amateur demonstrations. 3D printing is far more than a passing fad. The 3D printing process uses digital files to create solid objects, often using molten plastic.
Here’s the basic process:
- Product designs are created using 3D modelling software.
- These designs are then fed through to the 3D printer.
- The printer “builds” the object by layering plastic from the bottom up.
3D printing has applications that vary from machinery, to ceramics, to huge objects with many moving parts that can be printed and then assembled, One day, scientists hope to abolish the need for transplant waiting lists by printing organic body parts. For now, the benefits of this exciting technology are very real indeed.
What are the benefits of 3D printing?
3D printing can enhance the industrial design process by:
- Allowing for more interesting designs with more complex dimensions
- Reducing lead times by offering tangible items for review earlier on in the process
- Vastly improving manufacturing efficiency by creating high fidelity schematics and moulds
- Ensuring that single piece parts are always developed to the highest possible standards
- Cutting down time to market, allowing investors to see earlier returns and growth
3D printing in rapid prototyping
The most significant impact of 3D printing in industrial design is in the field of rapid prototyping. Traditionally, the prototyping process was far from rapid, and would involve a number of steps that could take anywhere between 4 weeks and months:
- An original prototype would need to be created and retooled onshore.
- Designs would then be sent offshore to manufacturers to create working a working prototype.
- Working prototypes would be sent back to the designers for review.
- Changes to the design would require an entirely new run of prototyping.
- This process would need to be repeated until the final prototype is approved.
3D printing underscores a huge paradigm shift in this process. Thanks to this emerging technology, modern industrial designers can:
- Have products rapidly prototyped locally, quickly, and for less
- Take more risks in the early stages of the design process
- Address mistakes without affecting other stages of the process
Industrial designers can also transition away from storing great quantities of physical prototypes. Due to the speed and capability of the process, the designs created by the 3D printing process are just as good as having them on hand. All a designer needs to do is push a button, and they’ll have a new iteration of the design.
3D printing in outsourcing and manufacturing
It’s no secret that 3D printing is changing the way that business is being conducted around the world. As companies in first world countries relegate their manufacturing to the cheapest bidder, a battle is taking place to streamline the entire industrial design process using technologies like 3D printing.
There are many benefits of 3D printing to the industrial design process:
- Businesses can now easily consider short run, low volume manufacturing without the constraints of traditional manufacturing.
- In the near future, 3D printing will take a greater place of high volume manufacturing, allowing designs and manufacturing speeds to be changed at will.
As exciting as 3D printing is, the process is not entirely infallible. The effectiveness of 3D printing is largely limited to the capabilities of the technology. Although it is evolving every day, users may be limited by the advancements of equipment, software, and as always, human understanding.
Here are the main challenges of using 3D printing for large scale production:
- 3D printing equipment can be costly, as can materials.
- Current 3D printing at a large scale can result in high manufacturing costs.
- Lack of expertise can result in poorer initial products.
Why choose MOSS& SCHMIDT?
As your local Melbourne industrial design business, MOSS&SCHMIDT is focused on optimising your products. We put 3D printing into practice to make products that work for you.
Finally, we regard 3D printing as an avenue to a more responsible world. We value social and environmental responsibility highly, and want to work with clients to create products with less waste.
To learn more about how we can bring your products to life, get in touch with MOSS&SCHMIDT today.