How Online 3D-Print Tools Have Changed Prototyping

Over time, the tools and services available within every engineer’s “toolbox" have evolved, and some of the most important services for the modern age are online 3D print services and tools. More than ever before, engineers are looking for efficient ways to transform their design concepts into functioning prototypes, and the easier we can make this for them, the better. At igus®, we know first-hand the ins and outs of machining from bar stock or metal. Now, we supplement these manufacturing options with filaments for FDM printing, powders for SLS printing and 3D printed molds for lower volume injection molding. Here’s the best part—even if your resources are limited, or you find yourself needing to turn to experts in the field, you can still find benefits to using our online print service tools. 

A 3D printed gear above a tablet with the igus gear configurator

Effective Prototyping Saves Everyone from Headaches

For so many engineers, it is imperative to prototype design concepts prior to entering into full-scale production. Typically, having the opportunity to test different geometries is vital to ensuring structural integrity, and knowing that there is flexibility to make changes is a huge priority. Utilizing online tools helps to make this happen. For others, the issue stems from only needing very small batches of parts for smaller projects that do not warrant custom tooling. Having the option to obtain wear-resistant parts that meet the application requirements, without needing to fulfill minimum order quantities, is key for prototyping. 

How Do These Online 3D Print Tools Make Things Easier?

A growing selection of print materials, additive manufacturing machines and web-based tools are making light work of the prototyping process while also providing you with access to cutting-edge material options, great quality parts, and most importantly, quicker turn around times than ever before. 

The best web-based print tools allow you to:

·       Quickly import your conceptual design.

·       Choose the right material for your application requirements.

·       Generate a CAD model instantly.

·       Place an order.

Some of these tools even provide features that analyze sustainability and provide you with post-processing options. Other tools take it a step further, allowing you to design and configure your parts so you can easily generate a CAD model on the spot. Given the fact that these resources are made available by dedicated 3D printing manufacturing facilities, you can have parts available in only days. With easier ways to order prototype parts manufactured from state-of-the-art materials at your disposal, you can regain time for what matters most—engineering and innovating!

If you’re looking to add more tools to your toolbox try one of these 3d print tools out—trust me, you will be impressed. Check ours out as an example here.

If you are interested in finding out more about print options, materials and online tools, you can also watch one of my recent videos below, or contact me here. Have fun with additive manufacturing!