We’re reading a case study in which manufacturer Megalodon Sports managed to save considerable cash and time by 3D printing prototypes of their new mouthguard product.
Now, we know you’re thinking that this is going to be one of those standard stories where a manufacturer saves thousands by moving their prototyping from expensive CNC milling processes to 3D printing.
Megalodon Sports actually was using 3D printing for prototyping - but they were using large-scale industrial 3D print services. Their discovery was that they could produce viable prototypes using a basic Lulzbot personal 3D printer at far lower cost than the “conventional” 3D print services. They moved from a cost of USD$200-400 per prototype to around USD$5 each. The LulzBot paid for itself “within a matter of months.”
This move is not one that can always be made by small manufacturers; it depends on the nature of your product, as the personal 3D printers are not as capable as large-scale commercial devices. But they will work in some circumstances, as Megalodon Sports discovered.