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Why Engineers Like Desktop 3D Printers

Posted by Jacob Russo on 2/10/2015 to News
Why Engineers Like Desktop 3D Printers

Why Engineers Like Desktop 3D Printers

February 9, 2015

An industry report examines the benefits seen by engineers using personal 3D printers.  The white paper aims to provide an insight look into the current state of desktop 3D printing use among engineers. It is aimed at (mainly mechanical) engineers, engineering companies and R&D departments. The central question therefore is:

How does desktop 3D printing add value for engineers at this moment in time and what needs to happen in order for them to be able to add even more value?

The main findings are that engineers are currently using desktop 3D printing in improving design and quality, saving costs and time, thus increasing time to market and getting early feedback.

Adding real value for engineers Desktop 3D printers are those relatively small, affordable (generally noted to be under $5,000) and easy to use 3D printers that utilize affordable materials such as polymers. Desktop 3D printers should by no means be mistaken for toys. Although some of them are used in a hobbyist or an early adopter consumer environment, this report shows that they are used

Cost Savings. 

The cost savings are typically due to the cheap cost of plastic used in personal 3D printers versus expensive proprietary plastic in 3D print services or, even worse, the cost of milling parts using traditional equipment. 

Speed of Getting a Part. 

When the machine making your prototype is sitting on your desk, the speed is obvious and in this survey, the speed was the most important factor. Even prints taking hours likely are completed far faster than other techniques. 

Convincing Clients. 

This factor is rated low in the survey, simply because if you’ve made the prototype, regardless of method, you’re still demonstrating it to the client in much the same way. 

Design Freedom. 

Design freedom likely derives from the ability of 3D printers to produce objects with arbitrary geometry, whereas traditional prototyping methods have various restrictions. 

Detecting Design Errors. 

We believe this is related to speed, as delivery of completed prototypes faster means you can detect - and resolve - design errors faster. More errors can be detected and corrected in a given time. 

Customizing Objects. 

Again, speed is the key. If you can receive prints faster, you can make more customizations in a given time. Also, 3D modeling techniques provide an easy way to quickly adapt an existing model without much concern for the effect on prototype build. 

For these reasons we see a very large and growing market for desktop 3D printers in engineer’s offices.

To learn more about 3D Printing and 3D Printers please visit

Source:  Leapfrog

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