3D Printing is often considered to be more expensive than injection molding when used as production manufacturing process at higher volumes. But that is simply not the case any more. In many situations, 3D printing is more affordable due to the implementation of large scale 3D printing farms, such as Slant 3D, which utilize hundreds of printers operating 24/7.
Just take a look at the chart below. It is a comparison of the effective cost per part if using 3D printing versus injection molding.
In this case it is estimated that a mold would immediately cost the client $5000 to have manufactured. Now molding costs do vary depending on the size and shape of the part and where it is made. But, on the whole, when you consider design time, iterations, and the spectrum of mold sizes, $5000 is a very good average. After the mold is made the price per part is $0.20.
However, the 3D printing cost per part is only $0.70 per part, and there is no initial investment to get set-up.
In this situation it is more economical to use 3D printing to manufacture the part if you are creating less than about 10,000 units. This is because it takes that many units for the effective cost per injection molded part to drop below the 3D printed cost per part.
Now Consider the other benefits. 3D printing allows you to update and change you design throughout the entire production process. It also increases your speed to market, because there is not all the time spent on the design, set-up and collaboration with an injection molder. All that is needed is an e-mail with the design file attached. 3D printing provides you a product immediately without a large upfront investment, And there are fewer limitations in geometry when designing the part.
Overall, 3D printing is a much more affordable option to injection molding when producing several thousand parts. It reduces your risk and your expenditure. For start-ups or small businesses this is invaluable and opens up opportunities that have never existed before.
If you are interested in having your product 3D printed send us your design and we will work up a quote and some samples for you to take a look at.