Prototyping is a crucial part of creating any product. This will help you test out what works and what does not until you come up with something that meets your requirements and that of your market. However, this process used to take a lot of time, and was costly as a result. With the arrival of 3D printing into the mainstream, even small businesses can now quickly and affordably create prototypes, which was something that only big businesses could do in the past.
One of the main benefits of 3D printing is that it helps you save on costly design errors, unlike traditional prototyping and manufacturing. Here are some ways 3D printing helps you do that:
1. Tweak your design on a computer prior to creating prototypes. Computer aided design (CAD) can help you create a design of your product without having to build a physical one first. And since designing with CAD can be faster than traditional methods, this will enable you to tweak everything even before you create a prototype. This will help reduce chances of errors, and lowers the number of prototypes you have to make before you're able to come up with something that suits your requirements.
2. Use prototypes to cheaply test form and fit. You can already test form and fit through CAD. However, you may still want to create an actual prototype to see how it will be in the real world. Since 3D printing prototypes can be cost-effective than the traditional way of making them, you can create as many as you like without creating a huge dent on your budget. Doing so will minimize errors until you go into full production mode.
3. Testing prototypes based on consumer feedback. In the past, you're only able to test out products using focus groups, partly because of the limitation in resources. This results in limited feedback, and still leaves enough chance for errors once it's released to the market. But with 3D printing, you're able to provide prototypes to more people since it's cheaper to produce. And since 3D prints are also faster to make, you're able to get more consumer feedback and at a faster pace than you were able to do in the past. This enables you to minimize design errors once the product is mass produced.
Overall, 3D printing allows you to design and then create prototypes faster and cheaper, which translates to careful savings because it helps reduce design errors before you mass produce your products. And as 3D printers become cheaper and readily-available, today's the right time to consider having one or several in your business.