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Product Packaging
#1
Hello everyone.

I am just starting out my research into 3D printing. I work for a healthcare company that fabricates hearing aids, dentures and eyeglasses.

I have been tasked by our CEO with updating the packaging we deliver these products in as well as storage cases for each of which he would like everything 3D Printed.

My questions are as follows:
  • Should we invest in 3d Printing equipment of our own or find a company to do it for us?
  • What Desktop 3D Printers are the ones we should look at?
  • What Features of a 3D printer should I look for or lookout for?
  • Any other tips?

I appreciate any and all feedback.
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#2
Hi and welcome to 3ders.
Q:Should we invest in 3d Printing equipment of our own or find a company to do it for us? A:I would say that depends on your volume.
Are the storage cases all the same? If they are all the same and there is a decent volume, I suggest 3d printing might not be the best way to make the items that are always the same. You could have 1 case printed and make a mold with it. That would be cost effective.
Q: What Desktop 3D Printers are the ones we should look at? That would depend on your needs. What materials are you wanting to use?
ie- eyeglasses and hearing aids may use the same material but the dentures may need more accuracy or use a different material.
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#3
The volume we are looking at is 100-150 cases per day, split between glasses cases, denture cups, and hearing aid storage containers.

Material would all be some form of plastic. Ideally the glasses hearing aid cases should be slightly pliable so we could have it be a single piece that folds in the middle and snaps shut. The denture cups could be much more rigid.

I'm beginning to lean toward maybe we get a printer that is capable of aiding in our design and prototyping process, and then finding a manufacturer produce the finished products. Would that be cheaper in the long run?
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#4
Well, a single printer might take a few hours to make one case.
Option 1 - Even our printer with its copy head on it that will print 4 things at once and even though we might be able to fit up to 100 on our build platform, it still might take longer than you would like.
100/4 = 25 x 2 hours @ 4 at once give you 50 hours to produce 100 cases.
Option 2 - If you where to get a company to print them for you, I fear they will just cost to much, plus the logistics for your volume may make it not worth while.
Option 3- If you where to buy 4 cheap printers at say $500 -$1000 ea it is still going to take that same amount of time as my printers.

The hearing aid cases may only take 45 mins? I am imagining they are small.
The glasses might not be strong enough with out a metal hinge of some sort.
I would consider getting some sample prints from Shapeways, that way you will have an item, a price and a timeframe on what that part would cost thought them.
When you get the sample, Weight it for its materiel content, to get a better idea on costings if you did it your self.
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#5
These are all good suggestions. I may do just that. We not really ready to pull the trigger on any big ticket items quite yet. Still very much in the research phase.

I certainly appreciete your feedback!
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#6
(01-22-2014, 08:35 PM)jerettk Wrote: These are all good suggestions. I may do just that. We not really ready to pull the trigger on any big ticket items quite yet. Still very much in the research phase.

I certainly appreciete your feedback!

Material, setup, and cost are your biggest factors. In the medical industry, a company called 3D systems and others have some very impressive machines that have specialized 3D printing material used for the orthodontic and other medical industries. However, these machines can cost upwards of 80K and more. You could go with a cheaper desktop printer, but the quality will not be as good especially for dentures and hearing aids.

Typically, 3D printing companies can provide more than just a print, they provide expertise on your application. I used them for a job I used to work at and wound up enhancing our design process. However, be advised, not all 3D printing services are created equal, and you really want to do your research on companies.

My suggestion is use a service and once you've done several prints through a service company and become well-versed in your application, venture out and buy your own machine.

Hope it helps.
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#7
From raw materials to printing systems to anti-counterfeit solutions, we have many industries offering the packaging industry the products to make their packaging stand out.Printing services including flexible packaging film and label printing.
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