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BUY 3D PRINTER OR USE SERVICE?
Should you buy a 3D printer or use a service? Almost every day, people reach out to us to see if we can 3D model & 3D print custom replacement parts for their $150 microwave or their $250 drone. While we are very flattered that people would consider us for their projects, when we actually take the time to generate a quote people are often shocked (and sometimes even offended) to find out that a single custom 3D modeled & 3D printed replacement part costs more than their entire microwave or drone on Amazon.
This is because people who never had custom parts made before (such as via CNC machining or 3D printing) simply don't understand the amount of work that goes into 3D modeling, developing, & fabricating custom parts. The general public is also almost completely shielded from the fact that it takes a gigantic upfront cost to build steel molds & factories in order to make consumer products affordably at scale.
For example, in order to make that $150 microwave, many parts had to be injection molded or metal formed. Each injection mold (just for the tooling, not even accounting for the designing & prototyping of both the part & the actual mold itself), is at least a few thousand dollars for even the simplest of parts to over $100,000+ for a large complex part. And this is if you shop around. But of course, with such a large capital expenditure, you will definitely shop around to find the most affordable factories around the world.
However, once these production mold assets are made, you can make parts so cost-effectively that you can actually sell a whole box of plastic forks for mere dollars while still making a healthy profit ( for multiple parties including the factory, the distributor, & the retailer just to name a few). This is the magic of industrialization. This is why the average middle-class American has a much higher standard of living than any kings of the past.
So why is custom 3D modeling & 3D printing so expensive? The reason we can't design & fabricate custom replacement parts more cost-effectively than the items at Walmart is for the same reason that we probably can't convince you to take measurements, CAD out a design, & fabricate us a custom wooden table from scratch for less cost than a brand new wooden table from Walmart either.
3D printing is the most cost-effective way to make 1 copy of something since there is literally zero tooling cost. But if you want to save the most money possible, the most cost-effective way to make parts is to design & 3D print it yourself. Just like the most cost-effective way to build software is to write the code yourself & deploy it via AWS yourself. If you are tight on space, there are also 3D print farms (warehouses full of racks of industrial 3D printers) outside of California or in China that will do 3D printing way more cost-effectively than any local 3D printing service in Irvine ever possibly could.
At MineeForm, our unique value add is to locally 3D model, 3D print, & fabricate display models or prototype objects way cheaper, faster, or better than most companies in Irvine can possibly do in-house. Whether it's a shoe prototype or a custom CNC jig fixture, we aim to make it completely unnecessary for you to maintain any in-house 3D modeling or prototyping capabilities. Instead, you can simply rely on us to 3D design, 3D print, & iterate through your projects so that you can focus on marketing, building client relations, & securing funding.
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