3D printing has been around since the 1980’s. However, it has been talked about in the media a great deal over the past few years as it becomes more available to the mass market. As a product design consultancy, Hillside Product Design have followed the developments of this technology and have made full use of the benefits by bringing 3D printing in-house as an integral part of our product development process.
Benefits of 3D printing
The use of the 3D printer has enabled us to provide a much faster service to clients. We can test parts, see where improvements can be made, and repeat the process quickly until the design is refined, usually within the same day or even within a few hours.
Before 3D printers were commercially available to companies like ourselves, we used external bureaus to prototype components, this could take weeks. In-house 3D printing allows us to turn projects around much faster while being able to make more informed decisions, without the cost and time constraints of traditional manufacturing techniques. It has also meant that the delivery of in-house made prototypes does not suffer from delays caused by 3D printing bureaus having machine faults or over subscribing their machines capacity. All commonly encountered delays experienced by ourselves and many others.
While 3D printing is now available to the mass market, it still takes a level of expertise to know how to process a part to be appropriate for 3D printing. Key factors need to be understood in preparation for 3D printing such as print time, material volume, orientation of the print and nesting of items. Our designers have the “know how” to get the best from each print run and ensure each part is representative of the intended part. This ensures the prototype part meets or exceeds its design specification whilst providing information from testing which is essential to achieving high performance and quality components for our clients.
The availability of 3D printing has meant many people have tried to get involved with the technology but they do not always have the required skill set or technical knowhow. As the technology progresses and becomes more attainable by the public, more people are tempted to buy 3D printers and try to develop their own designs. While, for some, that might be cost effective, we advise caution. An enthusiastic amateur can often find themselves over their heads in problems of compliance, intellectual property ownership and part failure. Some things are best left to the professionals and design for manufacture is one of those things.
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If you’ve got an idea you want to take to market, we will assist you through your journey. Even the most accomplished will require assistance which is where Hillside Product Design’s expertise is invaluable. We work closely with all our clients to ensure they have all the support they need throughout the product development process.
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