Integrating 3D Printing Into Your Product Development Lifecycle
Kyle Maxey posted on January 15, 2014 |
3 good reasons to add the tech to your product development cycle.

Additive Manufacturing is quickly redefining how companies design and develop products. While there’s a tremendous amount of hype surrounding the technology, there are also a number of legitimate reasons to integrate 3D printing into your product development lifecycle:

1. Timelines and budgets are the two biggest challenges to any product development team. When it comes to producing prototypes and delivering accurate designs to a client, no technology is better suited than 3D printing. With an 3D printer, you can turn your CAD models into real life designs in a matter of hours.

2. Touch is an important component to assessing a prototype. With a multi-material 3D printed prototype, you can feel how a product will fit in your hand, gauge its weight or determine whether it will fit with previously created components. With a 3D printed prototype you can ensure that any mold or tooling path created from your CAD model will meet your specifications.

3. Before the rigorous engineering of product development can really begin, you have to iterate on possible design ideas.  That takes imagination and a unique ability to communicate the benefits of your idea.  From sketches on a napkin to a fully functional CAD model, 3D printing can turn these visual representation of your idea into real, concrete object that can help you sell your creation.

If you read the mainstream press reports, you might be tempted to dismiss 3D printing as a tool for hobbyists.  We believe these tools deserve a place in most professional product design environments.  The best reasons are to i) help you create products that better meet your customers’ needs and ii) to speed your iterations towards solving product design problems.

Image Courtesy of Stratasys

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