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AM Friday Episode 2: Cost Volume Curve

In this week’s episode of AM Friday, Daniel Leong and Nick Martin discuss the cost volume curve for both additive and subtractive manufacturing. This has been a consistent question in recent years as more and more businesses start to bring 3D printing in-house.

The cost volume curve means shows the relationship between cost/part and manufacturing volume. Two things go into this curve — the overhead costs associated with preparing a part for production, and the per unit costs of making each part. In traditional manufacturing, high overhead costs contribute to the cost per part decreasing as part volume increases. As a result, many parts are only economically viable in larger volumes. Additive manufacturing subverts this, allowing you to create parts at low volumes affordably.

Free sample part

Daniel and Nick also discuss how 3D printers aren’t replacing traditional methods. High-volume parts are better off being produced by a CNC or lathe than a 3D printer, while complex, low-volume parts are more suitable for 3D printing.

The two then move on to initial costs for 3D printing versus traditional manufacturing. The discussion led to the topic of metal 3D printing, and how they are becoming more accessible and less expensive, making it easier than ever for businesses to add them to their factory floor.

You can watch the whole episode below, and feel free to leave comments with any questions you have!

Tune in next week when we talk about how to decide what parts to 3D print in metal.

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