3D printers have become an increasingly popular and useful tool in various industries, and laboratories are no exception. Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding a 3D printer to your laboratory's equipment list:
Customization and prototyping: 3D printers allow you to create custom parts and prototypes quickly and easily. This can be particularly useful in the laboratory setting, where you may need to test a new design or create a unique piece of equipment. With a 3D printer, you can iterate and improve your designs quickly, without the need for expensive and time-consuming prototyping processes. Many of the leading CAD programs one can use to design new parts, such as SolidWorks or Autodesk's Fusion 360 also have academic licensing options greatly reducing the cost of their purchase or even waving the fee entirely (with the caveat that you cannot use what you design for commercial gain).
Cost savings: 3D printing can save you money in the long run by reducing the need for outsourcing and buying expensive parts. For example, if you need a custom part for an experiment but can't find it commercially, you can design and print it yourself using a 3D printer. This can save you time and money compared to ordering a custom part from a manufacturer.
Sustainability: 3D printing can also be a more sustainable option compared to traditional manufacturing processes. It produces less waste, and the materials used can often be recycled or reused. In a laboratory setting, where sustainability is often a priority, a 3D printer can help you reduce your environmental impact.
Versatility: 3D printers are not limited to printing small parts or prototypes. They can also be used to create larger objects, such as models or even functional equipment. This versatility means that you can use a 3D printer for a wide range of applications in your laboratory.
Overall, a 3D printer can be a valuable addition to any laboratory's equipment list. It can save you time, money, and resources while also providing you with the ability to create custom parts and prototypes on demand.