By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 3
As three-dimensional (3D) printing and additive manufacturing (AM) continue to gain market share in new areas of manufacturing, capabilities also expand. Larger build sizes mean bigger parts as well as faster production, depending on specific goals.
Our September issue looks at 3D printers with larger build sizes, a notable industry trend. Here, we offer a summary of the advantages, part two of this series looks at limitations, and we conclude the series with a product round up.
The benefits of larger build sizes are easy to imagine. “There are two main advantages of having larger build sizes, either building larger parts or increasing the number of smaller parts that can be printed on a plate,” comments Dr. Kartik Rao, strategic marketing director, Additive Industries.
These are other benefits that stand out as well. For example, large-scale 3D printers aid in in house, on demand production; simplify the production of complex parts, add freedom of design, and present sustainability benefits. “All of the above contribute to reduced lead times, lower costs, and promote a more sustainable approach,”offers Doris Logtenberg, marketing and communication, CEAD Group. “3D printing requires less post-processing compared to traditional manufacturing techniques, and optimizing designs for AM can further reduce assembly time, manual labor, material usage, and costs.”
Blake Teipel, Ph.D., CEO, Essentium, says larger sizes in 3D printers bring increased production efficiency, reduced assembly requirements, and the ability to create complex geometries as a single unit. “Large-scale printing minimizes post-processing and assembly time, resulting in cost savings and faster time to market.”
Beyond the flexibility and versatility afforded by large 3D printer build envelopes to mix and match designs or print large components, Jeffrey DeGrange, CCO, Impossible Objects, sees improved functionality. “Instead of 3D printing multiple parts for an assembly, we can now 3D print the entire part without the need for snap fit components or bonding. A singular printed part versus many pieces assembled increases the overall strength and functionality of the part.”
“Printing larger single parts can enable speed to market with more design iterations, higher resolution parts with less assembly, more accuracy and less manual work, thus at lower price. There are also many low-volume large parts where tooling would be incredibly expensive,” offers Hanifeh Zarezadeh, 3D product manager, Photocentric.
Max Siebert, co-founder, Replique, agrees, noting that larger size printing enables the creation of larger—and more complex—parts in a single print, without the need for final assembly.
“These advantages have the potential to revolutionize various industries and pave the way for more agile, efficient, and sustainable manufacturing practices,” offers Kareen Malsallez, marketing manager, 3D Ceram.
Larger build sizes can reduce the number of potential failure points in a part, making it more reliable and improving the quality and repeatability of the final product, adds Siebert.
Beth Wyatt, director of marketing, MELD Manufacturing, explains that with AM it is possible to consolidate multiple components into a single part, reducing the number of joints and potential points of failure. “With larger parts, this consolidation can result in lighter, more efficient parts while maintaining strength.”
Materials also matter. Isabel Potestio, director of sales and marketing, Lithoz GmbH, sees a clear advantage in terms of durability when opting for ceramics for larger parts. “Metals are reaching their limits in terms of temperature and durability when it comes to ever more extreme applications in demanding industries, pushing leading innovators to start looking at alternative, more powerful material options—and this is where 3D printed ceramics come into play.”
While ceramic 3D printing has traditionally been used to produce smaller parts with extremely high resolutions, Potestio says it is now possible to combine the desirable material properties of ceramics—such as high thermal shock and chemical resistance—with the voluminous and larger part sizes needed by various industries.
Adding Up Advantages
There are several benefits to larger build sizes for 3D printing. Part two of this series looks at limitations.
Aug2023, Industrial Print Magazine