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Learn how to stay competitive with the latest in 3D printing technology

Novice or expert, educator or engineer, our comprehensive guide offers valuable 3D printing information designed for all levels. Whether you are interested in bringing products to market faster, creating more specific customizations, or offering students an innovative way of learning, you will find this guide brimming with useful and relevant knowledge.

Immerse yourself in the world of professional 3D printing with four, easy-to-digest sections. Each topic is accompanied by guided questions and key ideas for you to consider as you learn about distinct technologies, applications, and use cases. Once you’ve completed the guide, you will be equipped with the essential knowledge needed to make a smart and informed business case for 3D printing and your organization.

Not convinced? Below you’ll find an overview taken directly from each section for you to review for relevancy before downloading the full guide.


Technologies

Explore 3D printing technologies, identify the benefits to your organization, and discover the multitude of ways it is changing the manufacturing landscape.

There are two main technologies for 3D printing: FDM systems and PolyJet systems. FDM and its related technologies are by far the most accessible and widely used form of 3D printing, with variations found at the consumer level, the industrial level, and everything in between. 3D printers based on FDM technology build parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament.

By contrast, PolyJet technology is renowned for its outstanding realism and breathtaking aesthetics. The technology works similarly to traditional inkjet printing, but instead of jetting ink onto paper, a print head jets liquid photopolymer onto a build tray where each droplet cures in a flash of UV light.

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Materials

Compare materials like tensile strength, impact strength and heat resistance, and get links to detailed specifications.

Not every material is created equal and our guide won’t cover every material there is, but we will address the most popular plastics, photopolymers and metals used for professional prototyping and production applications.

The most widely used category of 3D printing materials includes some of the same general-purpose plastics found in mass-production processes like injection molding. Production-level FDM systems work with several formulations of ABS thermoplastic that have specialized properties like electrostatic dissipation, translucency and biocompatibility.

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Operations

Learn what skills, equipment and facilities you need to support each technology in-house, and alternatives to purchasing.

While you may have identified the ways your organization could benefit from 3D printing, the path to operational implementation may not be clear. Do you buy one 3D printer? Do you establish a 3D printing lab? Do you order parts on-demand? Each route has its unique benefits depending on your business objectives. We’ll explained the skills, equipment and facilities required for each technology, so you can gauge operational readiness, and assess what makes sense from an operations perspective.

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Budget

See 3D printer price ranges for each technology, and learn what other factors to consider when calculating total cost of ownership.

To build a broader business case for adoption, first decide on your top financial objective. Will you reduce costs? Increase revenues? Focus on one of these benefits by demonstrating how 3D printing helps you achieve it. One of the challenges of investing in 3D technologies is building a strong enough business case for financing and often, decision-makers stick to the status quo. You’ll need to show them the cost of inaction – whether that is too many change orders or a stagnating product line.

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