The Bespoke Generation: How 3D Printing Is Revolutionizing Mass Customization
One size fits all solutions are no longer acceptable in today’s digital world. As the demand for customization grows, manufacturers must find ways to build products at scale to fit the specific needs of the end user.
Standard sizes like small, medium, and large are sufficient for something as simple as a t-shirt. But if we’re talking about a product like Invisalign—or even personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks—there’s significant value in being able to provide a custom-made solution.
When it comes to function, wearability, and comfort, customization matters. Bespoke manufacturing is answering the call for customized products and services. And innovative technologies like 3D printing are providing these solutions at scale.
How 3D Printing Is Revolutionizing Mass Customization
Though traditional manufacturing and injection molding have long been the methods of choice for mass production, they’ve proven inefficient for mass customization.
Here’s why additive manufacturing technology like 3D printing is a much more efficient solution:
It eliminates the need for tooling or molding.
Injection molding is ideal when you have thousands of the same exact thing that need to be made, but that’s not the case with customized products. And when it comes to CNC machining, changing the tooling or reprogramming a machine for each customization is expensive and time-consuming.
FDM 3D printing, a material extrusion process that uses thermoplastic material to build a part layer by layer until it’s completed, is a better alternative.
Because it’s an additive process (i.e., it adds material to shape a part), 3D printing doesn’t require extra tooling like CNC machining does. And unlike injection molding, customizing each individual piece is simple and cost-effective.
It leverages digital technology.
Additive manufacturing leverages digital technology to digitize the entire design and manufacturing process.
Imagine you’re getting fitted for an Invisalign retainer. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a dentist’s chair in Houston or Boston. Regardless of where you are, your dentist has the in-office technology to scan your mouth and upload a digital design, which is then used to create a custom retainer made just for you.
It enables flexible and fast production.
When you’re customizing a product, no two designs are the same. It’s important to be able to iterate from one person to the next without impacting productivity.
With 3D printing, design iterations are quick and easy, making for a smooth manufacturing process.
There’s also the opportunity to order parts on demand, which reduces the need for storage and warehousing.
It democratizes customization opportunities.
Traditionally, customization has been associated with high-cost luxury products—but not anymore!
Thanks to mass customization, one of a kind products are now accessible to everyone. That’s because these one of a kind products are also one of a kind of many. Customers get all the benefits of volume and scale, which keeps costs reasonable.
Alchemy Industrial’s Role in Revolutionizing Mass Customization
Look around and you’ll see that custom 3D printing is taking over the world.
In the medical industry, bioengineers are discovering how to 3D print replacement organs and blood vessels.
In fashion, women can purchase custom bras made precisely for their unique body shape for maximum comfort.
In sports, athletes can get shoes tailor-fit for their arches.
Even BMW will allow you to customize your vehicle down to the door handles.
At Alchemy Industrial, we’re always at the forefront of innovation. We’re excited to push the bespoke manufacturing movement forward and to bring custom products to the masses from our machine shop in Houston.
Let’s revolutionize mass customization together. Contact us to get started!