VIDEO: Farm Out Prototyping and Manufacturing Tasks to Save Costs
James Anderton posted on November 14, 2017 | | 1373 views

If you need to make a part or prototype but the initial costs of tooling or retooling are prohibitive, consider manufacturing as a service to get your parts fast. Xometry offers a variety of additive and subtractive production options to turn your model into a part, and get that part in your hands.

Watch the video to see our interview with Greg Paulsen, director of applications engineering at Xometry. He explains how different process options should be used depending on the customer’s needs, and why manufacturing services are sometimes the most cost-effective option for small-scale manufacturing.

One of the major strengths of additive manufacturing technology is the lack of certain machine setup costs, such as molds or tooling, with the result that it costs the same to print ten different parts as it does to produce ten identical parts. This is a problem in mass production, because it offers no cost advantage at scale. However, in low batch sizes, such as in the aerospace industry or for prototyping, this property of the technology is a strength.

In the video, Paulsen gives the example of how the digital camera disrupted the photography industry. “Before, you had 24 shots, and you really were careful what you were taking. (…) with a digital camera, you can take a bunch of shots, and get something usually a lot better than what you get if you’re just limited to those 24 on film,” He said. Like the digital camera, manufacturing as a service allows designers to iterate faster and more cheaply, allowing them to touch and manipulate parts in the real world before sending a final design to full-scale production—and this advantage can pay off in the quality of the final part design.

Since Xometry is a widely-accessible website platform, not every order they receive comes with a CAD file that follows conventional design principles. For example, a part designed for 5-axis CNC milling should never incorporate inside corners, and a part designed for injection molding needs a draft angle in order to be easily ejected from the mold. Since not all Xometry customers have experience with these best practices, the company offers support in the form of written resources and experts that help customers who don’t quite know what’s best for their parts.

For more information about manufacturing as a service, check out How to Select A Manufacturing Supplier.

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