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Revolutionising Industrial Product Design with FDM 3D Printing

Revolutionising Industrial Product Design with FDM 3D Printing
From Concept to Small Batch Production

Industrial Product Design: Innovation, agility, and efficient workflows

In the fast-paced world of industrial product design, staying ahead of the competition requires innovation, agility, and efficient workflows. Traditional manufacturing methods often pose limitations in terms of cost, time, and customisation. However, the advent of FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D printing has revolutionised the landscape, offering exciting opportunities for proof of market prototyping and small batch production. In this article, we will take you on an exciting journey through a staged workflow, showcasing the seamless connection between industrial product design styling and FDM 3D printing.

Conceptualisation: Unleashing Creativity

The journey begins with the conceptualisation phase, where designers unleash their creativity to generate innovative ideas. Sketches, mood boards, and digital renderings play a pivotal role in visualising the product’s aesthetics and functionality. This stage sets the foundation for the subsequent steps, allowing designers to experiment and refine their concepts.
Images [below]: Designer’s sketchbook and digital renderings.

Images [above]: Designer working on a 3D Modelling software for producing 3D Print STL files.

3D Modelling: Transforming Ideas into Digital Reality

With the concept in hand, it’s time to translate it into a digital model. Using powerful CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, designers meticulously create a 3D model that accurately captures the desired form, features, and dimensions of the product. This step enables precise visualisation and serves as the basis for the subsequent 3D printing process.
Images [below]: Fabrication of 3D STL files and 3D Prints into Prototypes.

Optimisation for FDM Printing: Design for Success

Next, the 3D model is optimised for FDM printing. Designers take into account factors such as structural integrity, support structures, material usage, and printability. By leveraging the capabilities and limitations of FDM 3D printing, they ensure that the final product is manufacturable and retains the envisioned design aesthetics.
Images [below]: Models with optimised geometry for FDM printing.

Proof of Market Prototyping: Tangible Validation

Once the optimised 3D model is ready, it’s time to bring it to life through FDM 3D printing. The selected 3D printer converts the digital design into physical reality, layer by layer. The beauty of FDM technology lies in its ability to rapidly prototype complex geometries and iterate designs quickly. With the physical prototype in hand, designers can assess the product’s form, fit, and function, making informed refinements.
Image/Video [below]: 3D Printers in action and Building the Prototype.

Industrial Product Design Refinement and Iteration:
Continuous Improvement

Based on feedback from the proof of market prototype, designers refine and iterate the design further. This iterative process allows for continuous improvement and ensures that the final product meets the desired specifications. The flexibility of FDM 3D printing enables designers to make design changes swiftly, reducing time-to-market and maximising innovation potential. (Image: Designer holding the prototype and making notes)

Industrial Product Design for 3D Printing - Prototype Measuring and Adjustments for Refinement and Innovation samples.

Industrial Product Design for 3D Printing – Prototype Measuring and Adjustments for Refinement and Innovation samples.

Small Batch Production: Scaling Innovation

With the design refined and validated, it’s time to move towards small batch production. FDM 3D printing excels in low-volume manufacturing, enabling cost-effective production of customised products without the need for expensive tooling or molds. By leveraging the scalability of 3D printing technology, designers can cater to niche markets, create limited editions, or even offer personalised products.
Images [below] : Array of identical products produced through FDM 3D printing.


The integration of industrial product design styling with FDM 3D printing has ushered in a new era of creativity, speed, and cost-efficiency. By following the staged workflow outlined above, designers can unleash their imagination, validate their ideas through proof of market prototyping, iterate designs, and seamlessly transition to small batch production. The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are substantial.

To delve deeper into the world of industrial product design and FDM 3D printing, check out this informative article on the role of 3D printing in enhancing manufacturing processes. For insights into the latest trends and innovations in the industry, explore this insightful report on the future of additive manufacturing.

  • Embrace the power of FDM 3D printing and witness the transformation of your product design ideas into reality.
  • With enhanced speed, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, this technology opens new doors for creativity, prototyping, and small batch production.
  • Revolutionise your product development process and stay ahead in the competitive market with FDM 3D printing.

Remember, the future of industrial product design lies in the synergy between innovation and technology. Embrace the possibilities of FDM 3D printing and unlock a world of endless opportunities for your business.

3D Resin Printing – Upgrading Machines

3D Resin Printing

Like every company, at 3D Printing Leeds we purchase our 3D Resin Printing machines off-the-shelf from specialist companies but this does not mean those printers are perfect and ready to go. They all need checking and improving and then maintaining.

With our 3D Resin Printers, we found that its fumes were leaking even though the manufacturer had provided some kind of air filter. The lid did not fit well either and the fumes escaped under it.
We found some modifications online that we could 3D Print on our FDM printers but those files were old and did not fit or seal well to the current machine model.

So, true to our business, we re-engineered the part to fit the current manufactures tolerances and then improved on it too.

Pictured below is a gasket: we changed the profile to fit tightly to the base unit, to skirt the filter unit (see our previous post on this). We also deepened the channels for the lid to provide a solid firm fit. We also sourced some very thin foam strip to seal both the top and bottom fitment.

Now there are no fumes and no unwanted smells. Success!

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3D Scanning Reverse Engineering

3D Scanning Reverse Engineering

3D Scanning Reverse Engineering is a great asset to design.
It enables complex shapes to be captured and worked on from other creative applications.

This process of reverse engineering not only empowers us to experience and learn quickly from complex shapes, but also to improve them far more quickly than ever before.

When you send us your item, we scan it into a file that you can use or we can progress the design into a CAD product design, styling and production.

There are many uses for 3D scanning:

  • reverse-engineering, whereby old or unavailable items can be recreated and improved
  • body scanning; for fashion, medical or costume
  • automotive; for new body panel modifications
  • archival; for museum display pieces or interactive representations
  • sculpture; for reproduction of original artworks
  • engineering & product design; to replace or improve parts
  • textiles; to recreate patterns, textures, prints, stamps and dies
  • conservation; recreating man-made and industrial artefacts and parts

Our team at 3D Printing Leeds have the skills and the tools to make your idea a reality, whether that requires 3D Scanning, 3D Photogrammetry or 3D CAD.

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