Leapfrog 3D printers publishes a whitepaper disclosing its research insights into the current state of the adoption of desktop 3D printing by engineers. The report showcases research results, provides illustration through client cases and analyses the added value by looking at the engineering process chain.
This is the second publication in a larger series of reports called the “Added Value Series” which explains the added value of desktop 3D printing in a variety of markets. All publications are free to download from Leapfrog’s website.
Desktop 3D printers are those relatively small, affordable (generally noted to be under €5000) and easy to use 3D printers that utilize affordable materials such as polymers. Desktop 3D printers should by no means be mistaken for toys. Although some of them are used in a hobbyist or an early adopter consumer environment, this report shows that they are used in highly professional settings to add very real business value.
Cutting costs, optimizing design and avoiding downtime
The main findings of the research are that engineers are currently using desktop 3D printing in improving design and quality of products and machines and saving costs and time in the engineering process , thus increasing time to market and getting early market feedback. Engineering companies use desktop 3D printing to quickly prototype at low costs, to create agile feedback loops in the design process and to cut time and costs in producing a finished design by weeks and by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of euro’s. Desktop 3D printers are also used as powerful and highly convincing sales tools and help engineers in optimizing design of machines and parts. This is because 3D printing allows unrestricted design variety and affordable production, which in turn allows optimization of design for function. In addition results show that desktop 3D printing is more and more used to avoid downtime in processes or of machines, the latter by printing machine parts on the spot when they break down. … (read more)