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3D Printing Manufacturing

Vastly different industry types have all trusted Fathom with their 3D printing and additive manufacturing needs. Fathom offers award-winning expertise, speed, and quality over a range of accelerated product development and design processes. Your team can go from design to prototype faster than ever before. Work with Fathom and discover how 3D printing can benefit your business.

What is 3D Printing?

Additive manufacturing, additive layer manufacturing, or 3D printing uses computer-aided-design (CAD) or a 3D model to direct hardware to build an object layer upon layer. The CAD drawing acts as a set of instructions or blueprints, illustrating all the intricacies of the product being made. These blueprints instruct the machine where and when to place the material. Complex objects can be produced in this manner without the need to join together separate parts. This type of design freedom allows a user to improve functionality through increased complexity. The result is an intricate, unique and lightweight product with greater strength.

In this process, there are fewer errors and the opportunity to pinpoint and resolve problems before printing. To achieve a similar result using a traditional method, additional steps would be required, such as carving, milling, machining, or shaping. In other words, 3D technologies enable the ability to fabricate geometries that were previously not manufacturable.

While additive technologies have mostly been used for prototyping, software, hardware and materials have steadily matured to produce production-quality end-use parts—a process termed Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM). This is driven by the engineers and designers engaged in both day-to-day and big-picture design vision. Those with more knowledge and comfort with how to design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) will be better able to leverage the value of it entirely.

More than ever before, development can be front-loaded with a faster iteration of high-quality physical prototypes. Additive manufacturing can be applied to products from vastly different industries, including medical, dental, biotech, aerospace, automotive, construction, industrial design, education, fashion, food, and more. Subsets of additive manufacturing (AM) include 3D printing, rapid prototyping (RP), direct digital manufacturing, layered manufacturing and additive fabrication.

What is 3D Printing in Manufacturing?

3D manufacturing allows industries to completely change the way they design, produce, plan, and distribute. There is an increase in brands using 3D printing to remain competitive in their industries and to continuously innovate their products. Companies can now wait until there is consumer demand and quickly fill the need by 3D printing a product as needed in as small or large amount as required. Mass customization, faster times to market, rapid prototyping and making adjustments early in the development cycle, are just a few of the ways 3D printing is benefiting companies. Now more than ever, 3D printing is being used to grow businesses and foster innovation.

Aerospace and 3D Printing

Since the late 1980s, the aerospace industry has been using 3D printing for lightweight components, tooling, functional prototypes and more. There are many advantages to using additive manufacturing in aerospace. These include:

  • Maintenance and repair: 3D printed parts can be used to create replacement parts.
  • Part consolidation: Because multiple pieces can be printed in a single component, 3D printing reduces the number of parts needed and eliminates the need for assembly as well as saving time.
  • Material efficiency: As parts are built in successive layers, there is less waste than in subtractive manufacturing methods as material is only used where needed.
  • Lightweight: If an aircraft is lighter in weight, it consumes less fuel and, therefore, reduces its carbon dioxide emissions. This also reduces the amount of money spent on fuel.
  • Low volume production: Small batches of parts can be produced cost-effectively. In 3D printing, there is no need to invest in expensive tooling or more molds.

Automotive

Additive manufacturing is used by the automotive industry for both prototypes, tooling and parts. There are many benefits of using 3D printing in the automotive industry, including:

  • Car components with complex geometries: Additive manufacturing facilitates the build of these complex parts and results in a product that is both lightweight and durable.
  • Customization: Unique parts can easily be made using 3D printing. Many of these custom parts are used for both the interior and exterior of a vehicle.
  • Flexibility of design: Being able to produce parts quickly allows designers to test a concept and make adjustments as needed, much faster than traditional manufacturing.
  • Rapid product development: Without the need for expensive tooling or molds, parts can be produced quickly and tested before they are made on a larger volume.
  • Prototypes: Companies can produce multiple versions of one design within a short time frame.

Medical 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing has allowed the medical industry to provide patients with personalized care. 3D printing allows the medical industry to work rapidly across different applications including some listed below:

  • Implants & Implant Replicas

    • Additive Manufacturing is paving the way for improved, patient-specific medical care.
  • Surgical Tools

    • Specialized surgical instruments and medical devices can be quickly and cost-effectively produced with additive manufacturing.
  • Custom Sized Screws

    • Small production runs where material and manufacturing standards meet stringent quality requirements.
  • Dental Prototypes

    • Unlike conventional manufacturing methods, prototypes and custom tools can be manufactured quickly and profitably.
  • Prosthetics

    • Lightweight and high strength parts can be manufactured easily out of titanium for custom prosthetic applications.
  • Medical Equipment

    • Custom enclosures can be manufactured out of both metal and plastic for your next medical device project.

 

Consumer Goods

To keep up with trends, consumer demand and more, retailers and manufacturers are able to adapt to a changing marketplace by incorporating additive manufacturing. Whether they are making electronics or toys, there are many benefits to additive manufacturing. Advantages of using 3D manufacturing for consumer goods include:

  • Faster to market: 3D printing allows companies to produce and test products faster than ever, which means products can hit the market much quicker.
  • Rapid prototypes: Multiple versions of the same design can be produced quickly and repetitive testing can be performed in a shorter timeframe.
  • Potential for mass customization: In traditional manufacturing, the same product is made for all customers. 3D printing presents the possibility to provide each customer with their own unique product.

Industrial Goods

Industrial goods may include tooling, equipment and machinery used in the production of other goods. 3D printing allows the industrial goods industry to innovate. Some of the benefits of using 3D printing for industrial goods include:

  • Complex design: 3D printing is excellent for creating goods that are both complex and durable.
  • Shortened lead times: 3D printing requires less labor and no tooling, which can reduce lead time for parts significantly while also being cost-effective.
  • Rapid prototyping: As in consumer goods, rapid prototypes for a part can be made quickly and tested within a shorter time frame.
  • On-demand parts: 3D printing allows brands to produce goods within hours or days instead of months.

What Additive Manufacturing Technologies are Offered by Fathom?

  • PolyJet (PJ) // High accuracy, great surface finish and wide selection of rigid and soft materials to choose from—ability to build multiple materials and colors in a single part or assembly of parts, including rubber-like. Learn more about PolyJet.
  • Stereolithography (SLA) // Good accuracy, great surface finish—often used for medium to large prototypes. Learn more about Stereolithography.
  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) // Wide range of engineering-grade thermoplastics—ideal for low-volume production, prototyping, tooling and manufacturing aides (lower resolution but very high functionality). Learn more about Fused Deposition Modeling.
  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) // Blend of function and aesthetics—great for high-complexity with medium accuracy but can be used for higher quantities (many dye color options to choose from). Learn more Selective Laser Sintering.
  • Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) // Durable, medium-quality surface finish—great for high-complexity with medium accuracy and can be used for short production runs (limited to grey but can be dyed black). Learn more Multi Jet Fusion.
  • Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) // Practical option to create rapid tools for injection molding or highly-complex or organic geometries not possible using traditional methods. Learn more about Direct Metal Laser Sintering.

Why Should You Work with Fathom on Your 3D Manufacturing Project?

Using Fathom for your AM project is easy. Fathom utilizes a state-of-the-art on-demand online platform that provides our clients with unlimited access to quotes and orders for prototyping and production parts. Our production team is ready to meet your needs with a wide range of rigid and flexible material options. Also, Fathom offers advanced and expedited services. Companies of all sizes trust us from medical to consumer products, electronics, automotive, aerospace, and more, including 9 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies.

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Comprehensive Capabilities for Rapid Manufacturing

At Fathom we offer a unique advantage of speed and agility-our experts help companies go from concept to prototype to manufacturing in ways not previously possible. 

3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
90+ Machines  
SLS / / Two-day  SLA / / Next-day 
FDM / / Next-day DMLS / / Three-day 
PolyJet / / Same-day MJF / / Two-day
Injection Molding

30 Second Quotes

Prototype Tool / / As soon as 10 days

10K Parts / / 10 days

Production Tool / / As soon as 3 weeks

CNC Machining

3 & 5 Axis Milling & Turning
(Plastics, Composites and Metals)

Tolerance Accuracy Range
from +/-0.001″ to 0.005″

Urethane Casting

Injection Molding Adjacent
without High Costs of Metal Tools

Most Commonly Used for High-Volume
Prototyping & Bridge to Production

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Fathom is driven by advanced technologies and methods that enhance and accelerate today’s product development and production processes.

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