How Rapid Prototyping Can Impact Engineering With 3D Printers

What kind of impact can 3D printers have in the real day-to-day world of an engineering department?

3DP Representative Mark Huebner asks Development Engineer Joe Binka, “With all of the hype and news around 3D printers going consumer-oriented, what advantages do you as an engineer find with the 3D printer?”

Joe: “We come up with a design, whether it’s a bracket or a new carriage, that we want to work on. Our normal process flow is to come up with the CAD drawings and then get in line in the tool room. Often we have to wait, sometimes two or three weeks for completion, and waste a considerable amount of money to run a part.

Now with the 3D printers, we can go through several design iterations per day, and really get our hands on the part. We want it to be functional, but also want marketing happy with it. Therefore, before we invest our money and time into a part, we can first run it through the whole company. This process gives us the opportunity to receive everyone’s input instantly, and then make those changes immediately.

To sum up, we can get executive, engineering, and market input and then go through these design iterations very quickly. This means accelerating more products to market at a much faster rate.”

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