Half of the Custom Parts in HP’s 3D Printers Will Be 3D-Printed

HP Muli Jet Fusion 3D printer and HP executive Stephen Nigro.

Half of the custom parts in HP Inc.’s two new 3D printers – which will begin shipping by the end of 2016 – will consist of 3D-printed parts, according to an interview by the Guardian with HP’s Stephen Nigro.

According to Nigro, the decision to use 3D-printed parts – parts that are 3D-printed by HP 3D printers – wasn’t just to highlight 3D printing, but was also an economic ones. “For any given small plastic part,” Nigro told the Guardian, “if you’re making fewer than 55,000 pieces you’re actually better off printing than moulding.” He added, “The reason we’re doing it is not because we can, although that certainly would be one reason. It’s because we should: it actually makes economic sense for us to print those parts; we can actually save money.”

Nigro said HP was surprised to discover how much it could 3D print, “because we were going through the development cycle and we had this goal of like, ‘OK, we want to have some of the parts in this printer be printed by the printer itself’, because we thought it would be cool to have the printer print itself.

“We honestly thought it would be probably five or six parts. And it wasn’t until we got pretty close to the introduction, we had handed over to our supply-chain team who were looking at the economics and they came back and said ‘yeah, about half the parts, we’re going to print.’”

In May of this year, HP announced its HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200/3200 3D printers, touted as providing “10 times the speed at half the cost of current 3D printers.”

The HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 Printer is designed for prototyping, and is said to provide improved productivity and the capacity to grow usage at a lower cost per part, while the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Printer is designed for prototyping and short-run manufacturing needs, with high productivity to meet same-day demands at the lowest cost per part. HP also said it’s setting up a 3D-material application store, and says it’s collaborating with certified partners as Arkema, BASF, Evonik and Lehmann & Voss, with plans to expand the open platform ecosystem over time.

The HP 3200 and 4200 3D printers start at $130,000, and a $155,000 respectively, and include software.

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