New technology and techniques are reshaping the way designers create products. Let’s find out more.
Digital fabrication is one of the hottest topics in manufacturing right now. Designers and engineers throughout the industry are enthusiastic about how it has turned something that was previously long and tedious into something streamlined and agile. What’s more, it can boost the bottom line for businesses.
In this article, we’ll look in-depth at digital fabrication. We’ll examine exactly what it is and the advantages it delivers. Let’s go.
What is digital fabrication?
Digital fabrication is a process of building physical objects from computer-aided design (CAD) files. As the technology needed to facilitate digital fabrication has become cheaper and simpler to use, it has become more widespread in the industry. Digital fabrication techniques are being employed in engineering, manufacturing, industrial design, robotics and even art.
Digital fabrication is used to quickly create prototypes, small batches of parts and experiments. The great thing about digital fabrication is that it lets you use cheap or recycled materials to create something new, which could be valuable further down the line.
The most popular method of digital fabrication is 3D printing. However, you can also use laser cutting and computer numerical control (CNC) milling to achieve similar results.
Advantages of digital fabrication
Digital fabrication is changing the manufacturing landscape because:
- Keep it in-house – With a 3D printer and the right software, you can produce small batches of products on your own premises without the need for external vendors
- Easy to test – Have an idea? With digital fabrication, you can bring it to life and see if it’s feasible. It helps you gain valuable insight into your customer needs, the marketplace and anything else that can spell the difference between success and failure
- Save money – Because you’re only making prototypes or small batches of a product, you won’t need much storage space. You can also save money on materials by using lower-grade supplies or even recycled plastic
- Save time – Digital fabrication accelerates the process of product development as you can create prototypes much more quickly than traditional manufacturing methods, with no need to outsource
- Spot errors early – Engineers like digital fabrication because it helps them spot any issues that exist within days rather than months
But perhaps most importantly, digital fabrication gives designers and engineers the ability to bring their ideas to life at a much earlier stage than they could before. It allows them to rethink their designs, experiment with new ideas and get visual at an earlier stage, all without being a drag on resources.
Incorporating digital fabrication at the start of the manufacturing process results in better results at the end.