Selecting a 3D Printer System That IS Best For Your Business

Before looking for a 3D printer you need to have a clear understanding of what you need it to do

The goal of this page is to provide a high-level overview of the process that you will need to go through if you want to end up with the best 3D printer for your business.  The more you understand and think through on the front end, the better your outcome will be.  What follows are some of the steps that we go through with our clients to help them save time and money when it comes to determining which specific 3D printer system will likely work best for them in their business and result in the best possible ROI at the end of the selection and implementation process.  


As you start or continue the process of evaluating and  implementing 3D printing technology in your business or improving on your existing 3D printing infrastructure and operations, we would love the chance to earn your business.  We do not claim to know it all, but for everything that we do not know, we likely can introduce you to someone that is an expert on it.


Each individual 3D printer has specific characteristics and capabilities as a result of the combination of the type of printer it is, the printing process that it employs, the materials it can use in the actual printing process, the post-printing processes capabilities it allows for, and the other devices it can attach to and work with.  


Just like there are multiple types of printers produced and sold by multiple vendors that you can use to print out written documents (like dot-matrix, Ink-Jet, Black and Laser) there are also many types of 3D printers that are produced and sold by multiple vendors.  


A good place to start in the 3D printer selection process is to make sure that you have a clear understanding up front of the following:


  • Types of 3D printers
  • Common Additive printing processes
  • Material categories common to Additive printing
  • Common printer integration needs and considerations and potential environmental planning considerations.


Each individual 3D printer has specific characteristics and capabilities as a result of the combination of the type of printer it is, the printing process that it employs, the materials it can use in the actual printing process, the post-printing processes capabilities it allows for, and the other devices it can attach to and work with. We are in the process of creating a document that covers the details of just how each of the types Additive printing methods work, which types of printers use which printing methods, and which types of materials each type of printer is typically used to print. Call or e-mail us and we will send you this document when it is completed. 


 Once you decide on which specific type of 3D printer will likely work for you, there are other issues that you then need to consider before you can make a decision on which exact 3D printer(s) would best serve the needs of your business.   Here are some of the many other issues to think about as well that need to be thought through and considered before you can determine which specific 3D printer(s) would best serve the needs of your business:


  • Pre-printing design analysis.  Some printing systems have this functionality built-in; most do not.  There is an old saying that really applies to the instructions that your printer will use to print the thing you want it to..."garbage in; garbage out."  Read the section about this issue on our page What Nobody Else May Tell You for a more in-depth discussion on this very important issue.
  • Quality Control.   Layer-by-layer inspection and analysis as a part of the printing process itself.   This is another key option that is available on some printing systems.
  • Post-production inspection and analysis.  There are many inspection and analysis systems and devices that can be "bolted on" to Additive printing systems and this capability can greatly streamline your production processes and cut your internal finished-product costs as well.
  • Post-printing additional processing.  Some parts come out printed and ready to ship or use with no additional steps being required; some do not.  Some 3D printers are part of integrated systems that include additional machines such as CNC machines, sanders, welders, machines used for priming and painting, etc... 
  • Environmental requirements associated with 3D Printers.  Different printers have different requirements and issues you have to consider and plan for.



As you can see, quite a lot goes into the process of figuring out which specific 3D printer will best serve the needs of your business.  The reality is that what is presented above is just part of what you need to learn more about and consider before you make a final decision on what printer(s) will work best in your business.  The key to success is to start with the end in mind and work backwards until the printer or printers that will work best for you is obvious. We would love the opportunity to work with you as you go through that process.





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