China is not always cheaper, especially when it comes to SLS printed parts and prototypes. To test this theory we sent out a CAD file to be quoted by 3 companies in China. We also quoted the CAD file ourselves using RapidPro’s quoting system. The results were surprising …
There is a common misconception that if you want something cheap, go straight to China. And while there are undoubtedly many things that are cheaper in China, SLS prototyping is not one of them.
Let me explain …
With so much hype about China being cheaper, we decided to test this theory by getting several Chinese companies to quote on printing a single file in SLS. We looked at time to respond, lead time (excluding freight) and cost.
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So how did we compare….
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Not only were our costs comparable or cheaper, our turnaround and lead times were much faster, ensuring the customer receives their parts faster and cheaper than if they had gone direct to China.
Differences in SLS 3D Printing
Firstly, it is important to understand that not all SLS machines or powders are the same. There are currently two main manufacturers of SLS machines: EOS and 3D Systems. In addition to these manufactures, there is also several material suppliers who manufacture the raw materials used in SLS machines. Some powders are more expensive than others, and aside from this, the individual operator chooses the ratio of new to old powder in the build chamber which ultimately affects the quality of the finished product.
At RapidPro we use EOS SLS technology and powders under strict EOS guidelines. EOS were responsible for bringing additive manufacturing technologies to Europe, and were the world’s first provider of Stereolithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) systems.
To speak to us about 3D printing your next project with SLS, call RapidPro on 1300 559 454 or email your CAD files for a quote to firstname.lastname@example.org.