Skip to main content

3D Printing Spare Parts

Maintaining inventories of spare parts has historically been a burden for suppliers and customers. Costly to store and rarely ordered, some suppliers are hesitant to even manufacture and offer spare parts to customers. In the midst of these difficulties arises the new manufacturing solution – digital inventories of designs printed on-demand with 3D printing.

3D printing, aka additive manufacturing (AM), offers fast production, unrestrained by the lead times associated with injection molding or other traditional manufacturing methods. A variety of technologies and materials serve many applications and are capable of handling complex geometries. Part suppliers can simply send digital files to an additive manufacturing service bureau like Objective3D Direct Manufacturing, and access large manufacturing capacities and a wide-range of post-processing offerings.

The Spare Parts Solution
Supplying spare parts for products can be challenging. They are generally composed of numerous unique parts, some that are replaced over time as new iterations and generations of the product come to market. As a result, a trade-off can arise for companies between customer service and the costs of maintaining obsolete parts and establishing customer distribution.

According to a recent study from PwC’s Strategy&, these challenges are the reason spare parts suppliers are having difficulties meeting the needs of their customers. They found that “50% of customers have been looking into 3D printing their own parts”, and estimate that “85% of spare parts suppliers will incorporate 3D printing into their business.”

These businesses see the innate business value of 3D printing and its impact on the supply chain. Transitioning to on-demand manufacturing leads to cost savings by eliminating or significantly reducing inventory requirements. Digital files also provide the ability to quickly produce new, updated designs at little to no additional cost. Businesses that utilize 3D printing service providers deal with less risk and more control, having a single manufacturing method for a variety of parts.

Steps to Incorporation
Realistically, businesses that utilize 3D printing have a competitive advantage because they’re embracing the technologies and capabilities necessary to remain relevant in the changing manufacturing landscape. So, how can companies take the first steps toward incorporating 3D printing into their spare parts business?

Most companies begin with an analysis of their part designs. Can the parts be produced with additive manufacturing? Do parts need to be redesigned in order to become feasible for 3D printing? Some parts may be better suited for FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology, with its large build capabilities and thermoplastic materials. Other complex, detailed designs may require the robust, specialized nylon materials offered with Laser Sintering (SLS) technology. Analyzing and organizing part designs by technology will help determine which process is imperative for overall spare parts production.

Performing a classic ‘make vs. buy’ analysis will help you determine whether to purchase in-house machines to build spare parts or outsource to a 3D printing service provider like Objective3D Direct Manufacturing. If a manufacturer needs multiple technologies, experienced engineering help in additive manufacturing, post-processing and finishing services, or industry specific quality standards, turning to a 3D printing service provider is the ideal choice.

With 3D printing, companies can ensure the availability of spare parts for their customers and reduce the lead times and costs associated with large, and often times obsolete inventories. By incorporating the processes now, they will gain a significant competitive advantage.

About Objective3D Direct Manufacturing
At Objective3D Direct Manufacturing (formerly known as RapidPro and Redeye Australasia), 3D printing and custom manufacturing is our core and we’ve been doing this for over 12 years. Located in Carrum Downs, Victoria, at the Objective3D Additive Manufacturing Centre, the largest of its kind in Australia and New Zealand, we offer a wide selection of solutions which includes Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Polyjet, EOS Selective Laser Sintering(SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Vacuum Casting, Injection Moulding and CNC. Objective 3D Direct Manufacturing is ISO 9001 certified and is a part of the Global Stratasys Direct Manufacturing Network. For more information, visit

Popular posts from this blog

Delivering High Quantities of Prototypes Fast

Objective3D Direct Manufacturing produces parts using a range of additive and conventional manufacturing technologies. We offer tailored solutions for your project’s needs. If your project requires larger quantities of small parts – fast, Laser Sintering is the best technological solution for you. Per-part pricing is reduced as quantities increase, but there are more advantages to using Laser Sintering for small prototypes than price alone.

Laser Sintering (LS) provides strong, versatile and geometrically intricate components made from filled and un-filled nylon materials that are ideal for fit and form verification and functional testing. Prototypes made with LS are created quickly and offer robust solutions for your project.
FAST Delivery Laser Sintering can provide sturdy, functional prototypes as little as 24 hours. Multi-component designs can be incorporated into single structures, allowing engineers to produce complex features and geometries in one print, and eliminating the need…

3D scanning and reverse engineering streamline original furniture design and production

MU Form Furniture Design is an Oakland-based company that designs, manufactures and distributes furniture products for the modern home and business. The company is never short of orders since good and original design is sought after by architects and interior designers.

The main material MU Form works with is high-quality bent ply, which is one of the most widely used materials in this industry due to its ability to create a variety of shapes for chairs, stools, and tables.

The company’s specialists seek to create great designs that pose a challenge for other manufacturers to copy or replicate.

“Our designers are tasked to develop furniture designs that require a significant amount of trial and error by developing physical prototypes of chairs and stools,” says Mark Leong, CEO of MU Form.

To produce a new original piece of furniture, MU Form would normally ship a physical prototype model to a factory overseas so they reverse engineer the model by using a router duplicator to create a …

Commodore Ute to US: 100,000 votes needed!

According to The Age Drive and an article by Barry Park, we are again set to export our Commodore Ute to the US.

The article is as follows:

US website rallies to GM's Twitter call of 'If you ask for an El Camino ute, we'll do it'.

An off-the-cuff quip from General Motors' newly appointed chief marketing officer could be just the thing to help Holden's cause to sell the Commodore ute in the US.

Joel Ewanick, who made the jump from Hyundai to the US car maker late last year, recently joined the social networking service Twitter. He soon started interacting with Chevrolet fans, with many of them asking for the car maker to re-introduce a vehicle based on a cross between a truck (ute) and a car.

In response to one passionate request for a new-age El Camino, Ewanick wrote: ''Well, we need you and 100,000 more of your best friends.''

Advertisement: Story continues below That was enough for US motoring website Jalopnik, which is now on a campaign to collect…