When is a good time to consider 3D printing?
Prototyping is one of the most rewarding parts of the invention process. It’s when you get to see your ideas come to life; instead of holding on to a concept you now hold in your hands a practical innovation that will solve that pesky problem you’ve been dealing with.
With recent technological innovation, 3D printing is becoming easier and more affordable than ever. No longer will 3D printing be just used for aeronautics and formula 1 racing components. The future of the industry lies in prototyping mechanical, industrial, and medical designs, developing soft molds for plastic product development, hard molds for machining as well as tool development to conceptualize product advancement. A decent 3D print can run around $500-$1000 depending on the mechanics and precision. A small price to pay when considering options such as paying a CAD designer $1000 for visual graphics, or the fees associated with an attorney ($5,000+) to file a design patent.
The downside of 3D printing is that there is a very limited variety of materials to pick from, they provide limited flexibility, and the bigger the item - the more expensive it’s going to be. That being said, it all depends on your product. The easier the design, the faster and more affordable it will run. A simple object can be printed in less than 2 hours!
So, at what stage should you seek out 3D printing as a means of developing a prototype?
As stated previously, 3D printing can prove to be a valuable resource in the event that you are seeking out manufacturing. Imagine being able to send a SolidWorks (3DS) file to a company in China to ensure they deliver precisely what you want. No hiccups, no dropped orders, the ability to easily convey product specifications in the universal language of ‘touch & feel’. If your product is plastic or silicone based, 3D printing can provide yet another valuable benefit as a mold for manufacturing.
If manufacturing is out of the question, you will find yourself en route to licensing your intellectual property rather than developing a business around your product. The innovation may be there, but a physical representation of your product will place you leagues ahead of your competition. These representations provide licensing agents the ability to effectively communicate your products advantages throughout their network of television and retail partnerships.
Here at Lightning Launch we have developed relationships with every outlet necessary along the product road-map with the understanding that typically inventors operate on a tight budget. Our goal is to provide the most cost effective product development to licensing solutions. Launch your Idea today, see where you land tomorrow!