3D Printing Is a Great Tool but Use It Wisely

By

Bill Lev

March 8, 2017

The advances in 3D printing technologies continue to accelerate, with more printers entering the market with new capabilities, materials, and price points. For specific applications, they are enabling lower cost, faster solutions, and indeed can sometimes produce parts that are impossible or very expensive to produce using traditional methods.

3D printing can provide faster turnaround on prototype parts, enabling engineers to often more rapidly develop and test prototypes without having the need     for molds or other processes. Those parts typically can be made at lower cost as well.

But these tools should not become a substitute for good DFM-oriented engineering practices involving simulation and analysis during the design phases. A product development methodology that utilizes simulation and analysis early and often during the design process, while taking advantage of the advances in 3D printing, is a proven way to achieve fast time to market with a manufacturable product. There are a number of key reasons for this:

Acorn has a 3D printer in-house (it’s used extensively) and has access to suppliers that are continually adding to their 3D printing capabilities. We embrace     the utilization of this technology as part of our overall design methodology, but it is no substitute for a rigorous engineering process that includes simulation and analysis.

About the author

Responsible for business development and sales in the Western United States, Bill has more than 20 years of experience in the high-tech sector, working for startups and established companies delivering mission critical solutions to his clients. Based at Acorn’s headquarters, he works with the Acorn engineering team to help clients bring their ideas and new products to production. Bill has a B.S. in chemistry from Rutgers and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickenson.