3D Printing: Just a Hobby or Real Value For Your Small Business?

If you’ve seen any demonstrations of 3D printing, you’ve probably noticed that there are some small fluctuations in the final material that might not make these printers a plausible solution for making parts for products. Most printers on the market are for hobbyists who want to make quick fixes for broken pieces or creative and artistic products.

For enterprises, printers that can print detailed accurate models with moving parts are still inaccessible for the lowest rungs on the ladder. But that’s not a reason to feel discouraged. These printers will eventually become more affordable as time goes by, such as the ZPrinter 250. This printer, for example, has a price tag of around 25 thousand dollars, and similar printers are expected to be cheaper as competitive offers arise. For nearly 10 thousand dollars less, you can get the monochrome ZPrinter 150.

Here’s a good scenario to describe the importance of 3D printers in the small business scheme: Let’s say you rely on a third party to provide you with some of your own custom products that you came up with ideas for. This kind of reliance can be a wonderful relationship, but it’s not doing much for you if you have to keep paying extra for what went into the actual production phase. A 3D printer can help you mitigate this and create your own products out of powder and binding agents. What comes out is a very solid and sturdy object that looks exactly like your product. Some professional printers even create gaps to account for moving parts. ZPrinters recycle any powder that you never used, adding to the savings you make out of printing such objects.

Right now, 3D printing – even on professional printers, is very slow and expensive. But the industry has been making clear strides forward in these departments. Soon enough, we’ll see printers that can make entire sets of solid plastic cups within a half hour that cost under $10,000. Printers like the ZPrinter are just the first step. These 3D printers are the pioneers in an era of new solutions that will help small businesses get ahead when they can’t afford their own factories. Just imagine having something that can print anything, even prosthetic limbs!

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About Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel Leiva-Gomez is the owner of The Tech Guy, a blog that presents futuristic and current news about technology with a light touch of humor, catering to the average consumer and prospective investor. Miguel has been working with computers and gadgets for more than a decade, working together with people to help them solve their problems and breaking down complex concepts into simple bite-sized pieces that the average Joe can chew.

  • Imprenta3D

    There are already 3D printers about 2000€ (some even cheaper) which make usable parts both in ABS an PLA, and are almost the same quality prints as a 20-30.000€ make.
    And, as far as I know, zprint printed parts aren’t usable, just for modeling nice parts, but not strengh parts.
    Best regards.

    • Rodrigo Vázquez

      What would be a good 3D printer for printing strengh parts?

      • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

        Thanks for the question , I do not have the answer but hopefully someone will answer

        Ramon Ray – from my phone (hopefully not while I’m driving or with my family)

      • Imprenta3D

        Sorry for the dealy.
        I think SLS printers.