Especially manufacturers have long used these printers in their design process to create prototypes for traditional manufacturing and research purposes. Using 3D printers for these purposes is called rapid prototyping.
Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing is also used for rapid manufacturing. Rapid manufacturing is a new method of manufacturing where companies are using 3D printers for short-run custom manufacturing. In this way of manufacturing, the printed objects are not prototypes but the actual end-user product. Here you can expect more availability of personally customized products.
Why use 3D printers in this process you might ask yourself. Now, fast 3D printers can be had for tens of thousands of dollars and end up saving the companies many times that amount of money in the prototyping process. The good news for you is there are Government programs that cover 3D printing:
- SMART Program covers 35% of a 3D printer’s purchase price, but keep in mind your business needs to have 15+ employees.
- Canada Job Grant can fund your employees training on how to operate this type of printers or how to use CAD software.