Scale economy is an invisible force supporting the modern industrial economy; factories and production lines are the characteristics of modern society. In order to recover the investment in the initial stage of designing and production, companies must sell a large number of products, in this way take benefit from the initial investment. However, massive production does actually scarify the product variety, characteristics of 3d printing can better handle small quantity, product customization, reducing the risk and cost of pushing new products to markets. Chris Anderson Described in The Long Tail that future manufacturing is a distributed system of large scale networks composed of small businesses. According to the specific analysis, we consider 3d printing does include at least below 10 advantages.

1, Boundless designing space

Shape diversity of products are limited in traditional manufacturing and handcrafting, the capability to make a new feature is more or less restricted to the tools they’re using. For example, the traditional wooden lathe can only produce round objects, the rolling mill can only process parts of milling cutter assembly, molding machine can only produce the form of die-casting mold. However, 3D printers can break through this limit, set up huge design space, manufacturing the products that traditional technology can’t produce.

2, Improve die-casting product mold

The prototype is the initial draft of product, it helps the designer, engineer, and manufacturer engaging a repeated inspect, truthfully experience the product’s external appearance, hand feeling. The traditional prototype is produced by hand in foam or clay. With a 3D printer, you can create product conceptual model in a short time, improving the communication between designer and customer. In traditional production, if defects exist in finished products from a design concept, huge material waste will happen. However, the same mold produced by the 3d printer can be retrofitted and improved constantly.

Besides conceptual designing,3d printing is also used to create a functional prototype. The objects produced by the 3d printer itself have a good resilience on high temperature, chemical, and corrosion. Through the test of prototype performance, changing the designing parameters of finished products could greatly shorten the time from design to manufacturing. 3D printing expedited the design process, improved the aspects of product safety, rationality, human engineering, marketing management and designing aspects, in this way optimized products before bulk manufacturing.

3, Product variety manufacturing do not increase the cost

More complex the product shape, the higher the traditional manufacturing cost. But this is not the case of 3d printing, its cost will not increase accordingly. Besides, traditional equipment has limited functions, the products it can produce also limited. A 3d printer can produce different shape of products each time just like a handicraftsman, this can fundamentally change the old pricing model and the construction of complete manufacturing cost.

4, No need assembling

Characterized by integrated molding characteristics, 3d printing helps a lot in reducing the cost of shipment and labor. Bulk manufacturing traditionally based on the production chain and assembly line, the more product parts, the longer the supply chain and product line, also the more cost and time on transportation and assembly. The Integrated forming of 3d printing demands no assembling, thus reduced the cost of supplying chain, labor, and shipment.

5, Reduce delivery time

3D printing can print according to the needs of people, this instant manufacturing can greatly reduce the scale of factory warehousing, enabling companies starting the 3d printer only when there is a need and customize the products easily according to request. This is a new feasible business model, if the needs of people can be produced in the nearest place, then the zero storage, instant delivery production can greatly reduce the cost of the long-distance shipment.

6, Lower the manufacturing threshold.

Traditional machine manufacturing needs experienced technicians to calibrate and adjust, it needs a long time to train someone to become an experienced worker. However, the operation skills required to manage a 3d printer is much smaller than traditional equipment’s. In this way, the 3d printer can gigantically reduce the manufacturing threshold and generate more new business model, supplying 3d printing service in extreme or remote circumstance to people.

7, Negligible space occupation, portable manufacturing.

A 3D printer can be flexible on movement, could produce bigger size objects than itself. The portability of 3d printer makes household desktop 3d printers a trend.

8, Reducing raw materials

Traditional metal processing cost a lot of waste, more refined works even causing 90% waste of raw materials. However, 3d printing could reduce the waste gigantically, through the improvement of printing materials, net forming in 3d printing could become the most eco-friendly manufacturing style.

9, Infinite material combination

It’s very hard to mix multi-materials together in traditional cutting or mold making process, but 3d printing could do this, can produce the characteristics of the structure according to the needs of people. For example, nylon performance can be greatly improved if adding fiberglass or carbon fiber as composite; adding 50% titanium in nickel alloy powder can gigantically improve its performance. Researches on composite materials such as carbon nanotube and graphene are already undergoing.

10, Precise object replication

A product like magnetic tapes can be transferred physically to ensure no information lost. However, the appearance of the digital music file makes the information separate itself from the carrier, can be copied in unlimited times without the loss of audio quality. Under the whole manufacturing process, 3d printing technology can be expected to transfer the accuracy of data to the real world. 3D scanning and 3d printing technology can be coordinated to improve the definition of the real world and digital world format, shorten the distance of the real world and digital century.

3D printing will break through many bottle-necks on familiar and historical manufacturing techniques, bringing forth the new through the old and providing a broader stage for human manufacturing.