Fabrication vs 3D Printing: Comparison Between the Two
When we talk about 3D printing, we narrow down our discussion to the production of goods, and of all types. It doesn’t matter whether you are from the manufacturing sector looking for a technology that can help manufacture products or in the healthcare sector, seeking a solution for the mass production of prosthetics, organ implants, etc.
Surprisingly, you can also be an artist or in the handicrafts business, the manager of a supply chain sector, or any other business, 3D printing is as much use as any other manufacturing technology. Nexgen3d has always been at the forefront of innovation looking for new ways to implement the technology.
However, one thing that seems quite intriguing is how 3D printing is different from fabrication, the traditional method of manufacturing metal products. Even though we have been in the industry for more than 30 years, we are always curious about the advancements in technology.
Keeping this as the core of our discussion, we draw a comparison between the two technologies to find out who is better and why. So without wasting any time further, let’s get started with the comparison.
Fabrication vs 3D Printing
Fabrication as the definition goes is the conventional way of manufacturing a steel product. What the technology does is that it creates smaller components of steelwork which when consolidated or assembled together, leads to the final product.
3D printing, on the other hand, is a modern way of the manufacturing process. It uses the method of additive manufacturing to add layer after layer until we get the final product.
Metal fabrication isn’t just about manufacturing material from scratch on a single go. The entire process takes into consideration a series of steps before we have the final frame ready to be used. It starts with cutting the materials in the right shape or the one near to the ideal one.
Once the materials are cut, they are then shaped to make the edges uniform and rigid. This step is important because when you blend two materials together, they might distort the final material if not in the right shape. Next to shaping, the materials or the products are welded together to fuse them as desired. Finally, the last touch is given to the product. If the frame requires, an additional bending is done to the welded product to complete the process of fabrication.
Talking about 3D printing, it is one method that uses a digital image to print the product. Depending upon the product that has to be manufactured, a digital image of the product is made using CAD software. This along with the filaments is added to the printer. The printer would then later after layer adds the materials or fuse them together to build the product.
- Final Product
Products built using the fabrication techniques are well designed and often need to be painted to give it an appealing look. Additional coolants and lubricants are required to make the product ready for shipping. Machines that are used for manufacturing products leave behind smoke and debris which is harmful.
On the flip side, 3D printers are environment friendly and don’t require you to apply lubricants or other coolants. The products printed using the methodology are ready-to-use and leave minimal wastage.
- Cost & Time
In addition to the above, the production cost is less when done using 3D printing. For example, if you are to manufacture the same product using the two methodologies, the cost of production and the turnaround time of the same would be higher when done through Fabrication. Also, the processes used for fabrication exposes the engineer to risks. There’s no such thing with 3D printing.
Having said all of the above, it is pretty clear that fabrication and 3D printing are two different ways of manufacturing a product. However, the need to build products faster, better, and in a safer environment has led to the evolution of 3D printing. Nexgen3d specializes in printing and producing items of various kinds using 3D printers. We have expert engineers and designers that do the job for all. In case you are looking for a similar solution, we are happy to help.