The print shop has been an institution of the additive manufacturing (AM) community since the early 90s. Initially, these were small family-owned prototyping shops that utilized high-end ‘industrial’ 3D printers to fabricate one-off parts for product designers. Over time, these prototyping shops evolved into small scale manufacturing facilities as AM technologies enabled higher throughput. Today, as AM technologies have become more accessible, a trend has emerged where desktop printers are being put to work as part of manufacturing production lines. While they might carry the ‘desktop’ moniker, the gap between these ‘desktop’ machines and their ‘industrial’ counterparts has rapidly shrunk over the last five years. This presentation will discuss the adventures of industry leaders who have leveraged low-cost, consumer-focused printers to drop amortized hardware costs, and enabled US based plastic parts production for their customers.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to describe key differences between 'industrial' and 'desktop' vat photopolymer printing (VPP) hardware and discern if the added cost of industrial hardware is warranted.
- Upon completion, participants will be able to better implement their own AM project by following the success stories of the two presented print-shops leveraging desktop VPP.