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Toolless vs 3D Printing

This is a question many of our customers ask. In theory, with no knowledge of plastic or design, 3D printing could be seen hypothetically as a rival to Toolless Plastics manufacturing but in reality it falls short.

In fact, it presents more drawbacks than our technology for many reasons:

Prototype Costs:

Toolless’ prototype costs compares favorably to 3D printing.  If we were to compare apples to apples, a Toolless ABS enclosure that is approximately 8”x5”x2” would run around $500. 3D printing varies from $300 to $950 depending on the complexity. Our plastic enclosure is completely custom made without a MOLD, or TOOLLING, at the same cost or less than that of 3D printing.

Lead times:

Depending on the size of the parts, you can safely say that you can 3D print a prototype overnight, and it is ready to operate in the morning. Toolless’ main strength, with an approved design has the capability to create a prototype in a couple of days.  Toolless offers the option of rerunning a prototype at no cost, if the prototype does not meet the criteria of the approved design. Additionally the biggest advantage is the prototype will be your first article for mass production.

Repeatability / Production / Mass production:

3D printing is incapable of running production at a reasonable cost and lead time.  Toolless’ unique technology is capable of running any quantities from 10 units to thousands at a very reasonable cost, replicating the prototype perfectly. This is what mainly set us apart from 3D printing.

Here is a great article explaining why 3D printing is not a good fit for mass production:
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/11/will-3-d-printers-change-the-world/3-d-printers-are-no-rival-for-mass-production-6