It has been a common complaint with 3D printed parts that, the cost of the parts is a bit on the higher side. We have hereby compiled a list of some of the tips and tricks that may come in handy in saving part cost in 3D Printing:
By Selecting the most suitable production mode:
Our online tech. platform COCO lets you optimize your part cost by choosing a production mode of your choice based on your order requirement and application. These production modes are available only in Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology:
- Economy mode:
In case your project timelines are flexible, it gives us more time to consolidate part orders from numerous customers. In Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology, multiple parts can be fabricated in one single build by nesting (stacking) the parts efficiently throughout the volume of the build so that as many parts as possible can be manufactured together in one single go. We basically consolidate multiple part orders into one single build volume which leads to the total manufacturing build cost to be distributed over the total number of parts being manufactured. Thereby leading to cost-effective part orders. As a result, an end user doesn’t have to bear the brunt of a major manufacturing cost, as would be the case if he were to opt for Express production mode. The lead time for economy production mode is 5-7 business days.
- Express mode:
In case of urgency, we have to fire the build specifically for you which may incur additional costs. Even in case of Express production mode we try to stack the build with multiple parts, but due to project urgency, we fire the build on the same day, rather than waiting to consolidate more parts to optimally stack the build. This may lead to insufficient part orders for the given build volume, which would then reflect in higher costs associated with the parts. Nevertheless, you get the parts with expedited manufacturing timelines. The lead time for express production mode is 2-3 business days.
- Standard Mode:
This is a trade-off between Express and Economy production mode. We try to balance the cost and order timelines with our optimized production and supply chain algorithms. The lead time for standard production mode is 3-5 business days.
We would like to advise you that, unless you have an urgent requirement, you may opt for standard mode. If cost is a critical aspect of your part order and if timelines aren’t critical, we advise you to opt for Economy mode. Express mode is meant for those who have an urgent part requirement, and are willing to pay a premium for expedited project timelines. Kindly note that, by choosing between standard, economy, and express, you basically choose a mode of production whereas the time taken for logistics stays the same.
- Economy mode:
By making the models hollow:
You can save the part cost by making the models hollow. Far too often we have seen that the part geometry consists of features that are too thick and solid for our liking, and which do not serve any functional requirement, but are just part of the design. In such a scenario, we can make the models hollow to save on the material cost and also making the part lightweight.
By ordering multiple part quantities:
Our optimized cost algorithms result in discounted costs per unit part for higher part quantities. This mainly holds true for customers who want to opt for Low volume production runs. Low volume production runs come in handy when you need multiple part quantities to validate a certain concept, an idea in the market, or during alpha prototyping. The part quantities typically range from 50-200 numbers. This is a sweet spot where the conventional tooling costs would be higher, and any investment into tooling and molding wouldn’t make a business case. Low volume production runs with 3D Printing can be more cost-effective and faster w.r.t order timelines as compared to the traditional manufacturing processes.