Overcoming the Top Metal 3D Printing Challenges

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As technology improves and processes are refined, metal 3D printing has grown increasingly popular and accessible. But even as price points for 3D printers come down and new applications for additive manufacturing are discovered, challenges remain that prevent many companies from utilizing this innovative technology to its full potential.

In its recent survey of manufacturing decision makers – “3D Printing Trends Report” – Dimensional Research found that 96% of manufacturing stakeholders face challenges in 3D printing. The top four challenges cited by respondents are: no in-house expertise, cost of system equipment, cost of materials and part quality (i.e. integrity, strength and aesthetics). 

In this post, we’ll examine these challenges – providing insight into each and discussing how 3DEO’s technology, capacity and team are uniquely positioned to remove these barriers and streamline your processes.  

No In-House Expertise for Metal AM 

Perhaps one of the most significant deterrents to utilizing 3D metal printing for many organizations is the technology itself. While few manufacturing companies will question the merits and value of metal additive manufacturing, many lack personnel with the wide variety of skill sets and training required to successfully make parts with metal 3D printers.

The good news: you don’t need an in-house 3D printing expert to advance your AM production requirements. 3DEO is a metal 3D printing company that uses its technology to print parts for customers.  You don't have to understand all of the aspects of 3D printing.  Our diverse team brings to every client and project a deep understanding of metal 3D printing and a wealth of experience in the manufacturing industry.

Cost of Metal 3D Printing System Equipment

While 3D metal printing technology has made significant strides over the last few years and the market is gathering a tremendous amount of steam, driving the cost of equipment down by as much as 30% in some cases, printers are still not affordable at $100,000 and up. Considering each printer can make only low volumes, many printers are required to scale up production.  As a result, cost remains a significant barrier for those seeking a budget-friendly manufacturing solution.

At 3DEO, we specialize in low/medium volume production on demand. Our capacity means that there are no minimum orders and our turnaround times are short.

Cost of Materials in Metal Additive Manufacturing

Materials often account for a significant line in a manufacturer’s budget. According to Dimensional Research, tooling manufacturers are especially impacted by material cost and more likely to face issues around the selection of available materials.

3DEO is proud to offer the lowest-cost parts in metal 3D printing, while not compromising quality. The final part cost for 3DEO parts is roughly 10-20X less than competitive laser sintering technologies, thanks to our streamlined industrial 3D printing process. For example, we use commodity MIM powders, which are ~10X lower cost than powders for laser sintering.

Part Quality in 3D Metal Printing 

Not all metal 3D printing services and parts suppliers are created equal, and for this reason part quality remains a significant concern for manufacturers. Part-to-part and machine-to-machine repeatability is extremely difficult with DED, DMLS, SLS, or EBM. At 3DEO, we use 17-4PH stainless steel to produce the highest-quality products that meet benchmark MPIF Standard 35. In addition, we offer the best surface finish in the industry at up to 99% density. 

Learn More 

If the challenges outlined above resonate with your organization, contact us today to learn more about how 3DEO is helping clients overcome these barriers and serving as a trusted partner for all metal AM needs.