Present concerns within mainstream application of 3D Printing

Mainstream application of 3D Printing requires investment in tools and materials for any specific product. You need to have skills to design your idea, have right tools to develop a prototype, and be familiar with all the optimization tools that is needed to turn a 3D file into a physical object. Having luxury of enough time, enough money and right skills to go through the whole process is very rare. The main restrictions are:

  1. Size restriction

Future growth in large scale 3D printing requires investing a lot of money or using external 3D Printing services.

2. Material restriction

To 3D Print a product, specific material is necessary. Plastic is the most common 3D Printing material followed by resin. Knowing all the materials, analyzing it, and finding/purchasing a new 3D Printer for that specific material are very challenging. Most used 3D Printing materials are:

· Nylon

· Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

· Polylactic acid (PLA)

· High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

· Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)

· Polyethylene terephthalate (PETT)

· Resin

· Metals

· Carbon Fiber Mix

· Multicolor/ Sandstone

· Ceramic

· Wax

· Concrete/ Gypsum

3. 3D Printing technology

There are several 3D Printing technologies, each has different way to process input material and create a final product. Customers must learn all possible technologies and pick most appropriate one for their applications. Therefore, finding a manufacturing company to make the design compatible with required specifications demands lots of time and efforts.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is the most common used technology in 3D Printing, followed by SLS and SLA. 3D Printing technologies are:

· Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

· Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

· Stereolithography (SLA)

· Multijet/ Polyjet

· Digital Light Processing (DLP)

· Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

· Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL)

· Binder Jetting

· Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

· Selective Laser Melting


· Fusion Jet

4. Innovation and intellectual property issues

The shift in global demand for 3D Printed good requires very different service with different features and price points. Offering variety of designs while protecting copyright is challenging for designers and manufacturers. These questions arise in global 3D Printing and design environment which is different from past with more complexity, uncertainty, and risk.

5. Challenges in current supply chain of manufacturing

With manufacturing focusing on adopting new technology, ensuring the supply chain is ready for growth is a priority. Currently, the commercial adoption of 3D Printing technology has been delayed by insufficient infrastructure.

Challenges in current supply chain of manufacturing

Today, manufacturing is not about where to locate production, but it is about changing in customer’s demand, resiliency in supply chain, and cost factors. A new decentralized supply chain is required to serve application of 3D Printing and automated fabrication technologies in global manufacturing industry as the source of customers as well as the source of low-cost production. A platform that is organized and operates in fundamentally different way to create a collaboration around the world of design, fabrication, marketing, and service in an intelligent and secure environment.