- Slow build rates: Many printers lay down material at a speed of one to five cubic inches per hour. Depending on the part needed, other manufacturing processes may be significantly faster.
- High production costs: Sometimes, parts can be made faster using techniques other than additive manufacturing, so the extra time can lead to higher costs. Additionally, high-quality additive manufacturing machines can cost anywhere from $300,000 to $1.5 million, and materials can cost $100 to $150 per pound.
- Considerable effort in application design and setting process parameters: Extensive knowledge of material design and the additive manufacturing machine itself is required to make quality parts.
- Requires post-processing: The surface finish and dimensional accuracy may be lower quality than other manufacturing methods.
- Discontinuous production process: Parts can only be printed one at a time, preventing economics of scale.
- Limited component size/small build volume: In most cases, polymer products are about 1 cubic yard in size, while metal parts may only be one cubic foot. While larger machines are available, they will come at a cost.
- Poor mechanical properties: Layering and multiple interfaces can cause defects in the product.
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