How to set up your own in-house 3D printing facility

In-house 3D printing has been proven to reduce lead times, improve product quality, and cut production costs. In one such award winning application, Ultimaker 3D printers saved Volkswagen Autoeuropa an estimated $160,000 in the space of 12 months. The European car manufacturer is now on course to save over a quarter of a million dollars in tooling costs each year.

To help others reap the benefits of in-house 3D printing, Ultimaker has released a white paper: Getting Started with Office 3D Printing.

The document serves as a guide to desktop 3D printing, troubleshooting questions of software, materials, staffing, logistics, networking and maintenance. As such, it is also suited to new starters in any sector, from aerospace and automotive, through to medicine, architecture, and industrial design seeking to benefit from 3D printing.

Cura 3D printing software, integrated with Ultimaker. Photo via Ultimaker
Cura 3D printing software, integrated with Ultimaker. Photo via Ultimaker

Tackling barriers to adoption

Recognizing that while the benefits of 3D printing may be widely understood by some people within a company, but possibly less by some decision makers, the Ultimaker guide also provides some handy talking points. Key factors include, perceived barriers to the adoption of 3D printing such as the fear of change, training and logistics issues.

Fear of change/compatibility – Primarily 3D printing exists as an enhancement of product development workflows and operating software can be integrated into existing tools. Change is also required for manufacturers to stay ahead.

Training – The white paper focuses on the most widely adopted 3D printing technology: fused filament fabrication (FFF), that also, incidentally, has the broadest range of available materials, and is, simple to use.

Logistics – How to keep everyone on the same page? The document examines the benefits and steps to set up 3D printing clusters for multiple users across internal networks.

The emphasis throughout is on the value 3D printing can bring to any business, complete with useful charts on cost per par saving, comparative lead times, and task prioritization.

Bring your 3D printing in-house. Photo via Ultimaker
Bring your 3D printing in-house. Photo via Ultimaker

What can I expect?

By the end of the white paper, readers will be able to answer the following questions:

– How to establish buy-in across the organization and overcome barriers to adoption?

– What organizational considerations should be taken into account

– How should the logistics of a new in-house 3D printing setup be managed?

– What to expect once the 3D printers are up and running?

For more in-depth insights, download the white paper here.

Subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for all the latest how-tos and news.

Seek new opportunities in the industry by creating a profile at 3D Printing Jobs, or post a job now to bring in new leads.

Featured image shows Ultimaker 3 3D printers. Photo via Ultimaker