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.
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 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.
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 in engineer’s offices.
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