Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Top 4 Reasons to Use 3D Printing Services

If your business needs 3D printed or additive manufactured parts. You have two options: invest in 3D printing equipment or order parts through a 3D printing service provider. Each has its benefits, and often companies will use both for different reasons. In a recent Stratasys survey of 700 professional 3D printing users, we examined the top reasons why companies outsource 3D printing, top benefits of having 3D printers in-house, what processes they would want to outsource and what processes they plan to take in-house.



The most common responses to the benefits of outsourcing 3D printing to a service provider were:

Access to advanced equipment and materials
Over the last few years 3D printing service providers have evolved from rapid prototyping with a few plastic 3D printing technologies to contract manufacturing with a broader service offering. Customers don’t just need plastics anymore; their 3D printing applications have evolved. They need a wide variety of materials from rigid and elastomeric plastics to metals and alloys, 3D printing processes, finishing services and assembly—all under one roof—and don’t have the budget or expertise to take those operations in-house.

Less investment risk
Investing in 3D printing equipment isn’t just a matter of buying equipment, plugging it in and pressing print. It involves investments in training staff, setting up software, maintenance, purchasing consumables (meaning material, print heads, etc.) and even disruptions in overall operations. With such a big investment, you may want to try 3D printing out first and take meditative steps – that’s where 3D printing service providers come in.

Produce parts not able to be manufactured internally
3D printing and manufacturing services can be a great complement to in-house operations. 3D printer owners will often come to Objective3D Service Bureau to try a new materials or process they don’t have in-house. Or conventional manufacturing equipment owners will come to Objective3D Service Bureau for custom 3D printed tooling, jigs and fixtures to improve efficiency on the manufacturing floor.

Access to expertise
Learning how to design for the various 3D printing technologies doesn’t happen overnight and getting it right takes practice. 3D printing service providers have experience working with multiple industries and applications and have developed process controls and a wealth of tribal knowledge to share with customers. One of the main reasons customers order parts through Objective3D Service Bureau is our seasoned project engineers and their expertise in formatting design files for additive manufacturing.

The Stratasys survey also found companies are especially attracted to outsourcing technologies that require more post processing and supplemental equipment, particularly Direct Metal Laser Sintering and Laser Sintering. Overall respondents indicated outsourcing part production is valued as a way to minimize risk and compensate for resources or expertise that doesn’t exist internally.

Australian and New Zealand companies are choosing to work with Objective3D Service Bureau not because they have to, but because they want to. Not only does outsourcing help companies meet production shortfalls, but service providers may have experience with a company’s application type and may be better suited to help them realize additive manufacturing’s full potential. The interest in ongoing access to expertise, spanning across the entire spectrum of product development and technology adoption, helps explain why survey respondents expressed interest in working with service providers even after they’ve purchased additive manufacturing equipment.

It’s an exciting time to be in this challenging and rewarding industry. While the future holds incredible potential, the expanded adoption of 3D printing for end-use parts does not happen in the blink of an eye—it happens one application at a time. It’s our job to take your amazing new ideas for products and technologies and champion them into real applications, one-by-one, by identifying ways 3D printing can bring them to life faster and easier. While it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something we at Objective3D Service Bureau are uniquely and exceptionally good at. We get to know each part and project at a level that transcends the customer’s company or industry needs, allowing us to create unique solutions using a variety of tools.

Download the full report to find more reasons to use 3D printing services.

The Objective3D Service Bureau is certified ISO 9001:2008 compliant and is powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines providing the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions. With more than 1500 orders received and over 100,000 parts produced annually, Objective3D Service Bureau is helping companies in diverse industries create extraordinary new products at every phase of the production process.

Have parts to build? Try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE or for more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)

7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a 3D Printing Technology and Material

Additive metals, laser sintering, extruded filament, powdered plastics, alloys, photopolymers – the list goes on and on. Today there are a plethora of 3D printing processes and materials to choose from and it’s only growing. The dynamic additive manufacturing market is often difficult to navigate, especially if you’re still learning about the processes. At the Objective3D Service Bureau, our project and applications engineers try to learn as much as they can about customer’s part application to accurately guide them to the best technology and materials. To help you start to filter out certain processes and materials, we put together a selection methodology:




Application – What is the purpose of the end product? You may need to build a small volume of complex end-use parts which would require strong materials, dimensional accuracy and repeatability. Whereas a sacrificial investment casting pattern is one-time use and needs to burnout clean.

Function – What does the part need to do? It may just serve aesthetic purposes in which it just needs to look and feel like an end-use part. Or perhaps you have a hard-working part that needs to hinge, snap, or bear a load which requires an accurate process and stronger materials.

Stability – Where does the part need to function? For example, holding up and maintaining strength in high temperatures rules out a lot of processes and materials. Does it need to function outdoors? In that case you would need a UV-stable material. Will the part interact with the human body? Then your application requires a bio-compatible material.

Durability – How long does the part need to last? Consider the number of use cycles and the application duration. For example, a mold or tool may need to go through hundreds of cycles and prolonged friction, but may only need to last a week for prototyping. Some 3D printing materials are very functional over a short period of time and others can maintain mechanical properties for years.

Aesthetics – How does the part need to look and feel? Photopolymer processes, such Stereolithography (SL) and PolyJet, can produce smooth parts right off of the machine, but aren’t the most stable and durable materials. While thermoplastic and powdered plastic processes like Laser Sintering (LS) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) can create stronger and more durable parts, they often require finishing processes to achieve a smooth surface.

Economics – What is your budget and timeline? If you have a set budget and need to get a part for X amount, then your decision will weigh on price more than value. Time and quality can often contradict one another as well – if you need a quick-turnaround, it may be at the expense of a certain level of quality. However we have found ways to reduce lead time and cost without sacrificing quality, including batching, nesting, scaling, sectioning, shelling, ID-Light builds and adjusting orientation to reduce material consumption.

Priorities – What is the most important decision-making factor? Consider the primary objective and ultimate project goals. Often there are multiple, but your main priorities should drive your decision tree and filter the 3D printing technology and material options.

Choosing the right additive manufacturing technology and material for your application is critical to part performance and results. The main thing to remember is “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t apply to additive manufacturing. It’s imperative to know the pros and cons of each process and material or partner with an expert who does. Asking yourself these qualifying questions will help you start to navigate the dynamic market.

Download our latest white paper to gain more in-depth knowledge on 3D printing material selection.

Direct 3D Printing services is available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D Service Bureau. Objective3D Service Bureau provides 3D printing and custom manufacturing through the the largest additive manufacturing centre in the southern hemisphere - Objective3D Advanced Manufacturing Centre is powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines providing the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions. With more than 1500 orders received and over 100,000 parts produced in a year, Objective3D Service Bureau is helping companies in diverse industries create extraordinary new products at every phase of the production process. 

Have parts to build? Try out our INSTANT ONLINE QUOTE or for more details, visit www.objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS)  09-801 0380 (NZ)