Small series of components are currently often produced by classical methods such as turning or milling. Since every machine has to be elaborately equipped, programmed and adjusted for small batches, it follows that manufacturing is expensive. However, this changes with the introduction of 3D printing in small batch production. Small batches can be made in the 3D printer at a fraction of the cost, because expensive machine times are mostly eliminated. Furthermore, expensive programming times are reduced significantly because the 3D printers can obtain their required data directly from the CAD program. Last but not least, the initial costs for a 3D printer are far lower than for a machine park consisting of CNC-controlled lathes and milling machines. Even though small series of ABS plastics are currently being manufactured as priority, it is foreseeable that metal components may also come out of the printer in the future.
Advantages of 3D printers for small batches:
- Fast and cost-efficient production
- Execute changes quickly and easily
- Complex prototypes can be easily printed
- Reduce tooling costs