Utilizing Plastic-Based 3D Printing for Metalwork
“3D printing saves labor costs and improves efficiency. Product is more visually intuitive, it’s much faster to understand issue details during production.”
Owner and Designer
Yujia Metal Science creates metal household furniture products including room partitions, doors/windows, wine cabinets, metal ornaments, furniture, custom shapes, and other personally customized pieces.
Yujia’s designs have participated in a design training camp by KINETIC andhome.163.com (one of the most popular furniture online media.) The winner will be displayed in Salone Internazionale del Mobile.
As a boutique furniture designer and manufacturing company, Yujia serves a high-end niche market with individually made products. They continuously create new designs and pieces, but due to their low product volume and short product cycle, they rely heavily on their extensive R&D. The Yujia team relies on 3D printing to fulfill their need for speed to maintain its high frequency of new products.
Sofa model printed on Raise3D N2
Before including 3D printing, the industry’s traditional methods include:
1. Sourcing 3rd party companies to create various custom small-batch prototypes
2. Leveraging their high costs due to labor, design, and material requirements
3. Long lead times due to parts being individually created
By applying 3D printing, the company was able to:
1. Lower time by splitting printing time between multiple printers.
2. Reduce costs by reducing the required labor and utilizing a more inexpensive material.
3. Eliminate outsourcing by producing in-house
1. 91.67% Reduction in overall production time
2. 75% decrease in labor hours
3. 99.17% Reduction in prototyping costs
Company: Yujia Metal Science
Industry: Household Metal furniture
Interviewee: Chai, Yuanhao
Title: Owner, Designer
Blueprint of the final chair design
3D printed model of the final chair before creation in stainless steel
Yujia Metal Science focuses its 3D printing efforts on prototyping. For prototyping their designs, Yujia only requires the blueprints, CAD drawing, and their N2 printer. First converting their file into an STL, they will preview the print and optimize its layout and positioning to maximize the appearance of the print while minimizing the required supports.
The first model is printed to verify the look of the design. By using a physical model, designers can physically interact with the model and discover any changes they’d like to make resulting in rapid adjustments and iterations.
By splitting the parts between printers, the Yujia team can speed up the lead time on a 60-hour sofa print significantly. With this 1:1 scale prototype completed, they can place their order for the final design with their desired material.
1:1 Stainless Steel Prototypes Parts
Metal parts and legs to be used in the final design of the chair.
The logistics surrounding small batch production typically create high costs. For the Yujia Metal Science team, labor costs are typically $30 per person, per day. Over the course of 15 days, the cost for a single prototype can reach $1800, not including the significant cost of materials.
Before introducing 3D printing, the Yujia team would first acquire a wooden prototype to verify their designs. This process would be repeated multiple times before finalizing a stainless steel version.
Even with this involved process, Yujia still faces many risks when attempting to get these traditional prototypes. Many factories will not welcome this type of business due to the efforts of small production or the need for handmade goods. The lack of production capacity orders leaves Yujia and their peers in a difficult situation that can often end in rejection of their orders.
Utilizing Raise3D printers, Yujia has been able to produce their own prototypes and products in house. By completely handling their R&D, they eliminate their struggles and uncertainty when outsourcing with other companies.
With the large build volume and the detailed printing that Raise3D’s systems can offer, they can create larger and more intricate versions of their designs enhancing their ability to create. Their plastic models can visually verify their designs while also reducing the cost and time needed in their traditional design cycle.