Software Uncovers The 3D-Printability Of Your Product – Forbes

July 29, 2022 by No Comments

Castor software evaluates parts for whether they would be better and more cost-effective 3D printed. … [+]


Additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) makes industrial parts faster, cheaper, and better, but not always. Depending on the part, how it’s used, what it’s made of, how many you need, and how fast you need them, additive manufacturing can be a tremendous advantage, or not make sense at all.

How do you know?

A growing number of software companies are tackling this very question. Their platforms analyze your part, your entire digital part inventory, or even the digital blueprint for an entire product, like a car, and uncover which parts – from tiny valves to entire axles – are likely to be cheaper, more efficient, more powerful, or faster to make through additive manufacturing compared to your current traditional manufacturing method.

One young company out of Israel called Castor offers what co-founder and CEO Omer Blaier says is a decision support system for using industrial 3D printing for end-use parts. “Most manufacturers struggle with identifying exactly if, when, and where to apply additive manufacturing,” he says.

Software from Berlin-based start-up 3YourMind includes a part evaluation for 3D-printability within … [+] its on-demand manufacturing platform.


Castor takes the mystery out of 3D printing by providing comparative data that shows where and why 3D printing is the better option than injection molding, CNC machining, forging, or other traditional manufacturing processes. It uses your existing digital part file (or a 2D illustration) and analyzes its 3D printability. The software determines which 3D printing technology could apply and which materials would deliver the same (or better) functionality and performance as your current parts. Then it performs a financial analysis of 3D printing compared to traditional manufacturing.

Most of the time 3D printing is not the answer. And this is the key point underlying the broader adoption of additive manufacturing. It rarely makes sense financially for manufacturers to simply swap injecting molding or machining for 3D printing exactly the same part.

Of the 30,000 parts Castor analyzed last year, 70% weren’t suitable for additive manufacturing, says Blaier. About 20% were suitable, but only with some design changes, and of those, only half of them were sent to quote (meaning they had financial potential) and in the end, only half of those were sent to print. Ultimately, about 600 from 30,000 parts (or 2%) were 3D printed.

This figure aligns with what additive manufacturing consultant Sonja Rasch is seeing at her company Materialise, a software maker and one of the world’s largest engineering design and on-demand additive manufacturers. “Out of 10,000 parts, maybe 10 are typically suitable for 3D printing,” she says. “With metal parts, 99% of the time that you substitute a 3D-printed version for the conventionally produced version, it will never be profitable. You need to really have very complex parts to have it make sense, which is rare.”

The 3D Printed Needle in a Haystack

Where 3D printing is the profitable business case is when parts are redesigned for additive manufacturing. This means that the part is optimized to take advantage of the unique benefits of 3D printing, such as consolidating several parts into one part, customizing each part, lightweighting parts by using a lattice infill …….



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