3D Printing is also referred to as “Additive Manufacturing”, where items are produced by adding material in contrast to the CNC machines (Subtractive Manufacturing) that removes material. The benefits of using 3D printing rather than CNC is first of all that the items can be produced very quickly and that it is possible to produce items that are not possible with any other production type.

3D Printers build parts by adding material (Additive Manufacturing)

3D Printer Nozzle

CNC Machines removes material (Subtractive manufacturing)

CNC - Subtractive Manufacturing

Lattices that can only be manufactured using 3D printing

3D Printet gitterstruktur

3D Print can be used for:

– Prototypes
– Models of existing products
– Models during concept development
– Molds for casting
– End-user products (Rapid Manufacturing)

We specialize in the production of prototypes and models where we can leverage our experience with development of computer graphics, finishing (sanding and painting) and motor control to produce prototypes and models that resemble the final product. We can also produce molds, but we do not not produce end-products unless it is in very small quantities (1-5).

Prototyping

We use FDM printers (See the print-types here). These printers can create prints in hard materials such as PLA and ABS, but we can also produce soft materials either by 3D printing or using molds.

Print quality of prototypes is not important if the items are being post-processed, which quickly eliminates the difference in print quality. Post-processing is important, because even the best 3D printers today can not deliver prints with a quality that is ready for end-products (see below).

Production of models of existing products

Production of models is very similar to prototyping the essential difference that the models will often be scaled versions.

The models will normally either be put on display or be workable models. In both cases, after the treatment is very important, but the functional models may also require electrical components.

Production of models during concept development

3D printing of models during the development process can have an invaluable impact on the finished project. These models can be printed from the early idea phase to final adjustments before the first prototype.

These models can be used successfully in development of a wide range of products, which need not necessarily be produced using 3D printing. This could be things like clothing, kitchenware or sports equipment.

3D Print for molding

As described below, 3D printing is still not suitable for mass production. Injection modling is still a widely used production method that 3D printers can not yet compete with.

Development of metal molds is an expensive and lengthy process. Using 3D printers to create the molds can be very useful for a lot of products.

3D print og Injection molding

Production of end-user products

As mentioned earlier, the 3D printers are perfect for prototypes and models, but they are still not suitable for end-user products.

The problem with 3D printers is that they are still not reliable enough and need a lot of maintenance, which is less than ideal for mass production. They are also not precise enough and will need som post-processing.

3D printing can be used for end-user products of items to be produced in smaller numbers and here is the aviation industry is a good example. In the aviation industry weight saving is extremely important and this can be achieved by using 3D printed parts that can not be done using CNC machining. So 3D printers are today being used to manufacture several components for aircrafts and they are often combined with CNC machines or other automatic post-processing tools.