• 3D Printing

Outsourcing 3D Printing: Is It The Best Bet For Your Business?

  • June 1, 2023
  • 11 min read
  • By Sabeeha Banu

3D printing has gained ground quickly, given the advantages such as cost savings, and enhanced product-design possibilities. 72% of companies have already embraced the technology, and 52% of organizations believe 3D printing will improve significantly over the next five years.

Often businesses remain in dilemma whether to set up an in-house 3D printing or outsource to 3D printing service providers. 

This blog post explores the nuances of 3D printing and breaks the impasse for businesses in making a decision. 

3 Major 3D Printing Trends to Look for in 2023

The year 2022 was challenging owing to ongoing supply chain issues, the Ukraine crisis, and the rise in energy and raw material costs. It made businesses realize how important it is not to depend on a complex supply chain and made it obvious how 3D printing can be a savior. 

Hospitals and medical personnel benefited greatly from 3D printing throughout the pandemic. The technology aided in accelerating the production of face shields or intricate ventilator parts.

So what is in the store for 3D printing in 2023? How is it going to revolutionize industries? Here are the three 3D printing trends that may influence the market through 2023 and beyond.

Growing 3D Printing Technology Maturity

3D printing enables customized products and reduces manufacturing costs and process downtime. These factors indicate that the market will become more mature in 2023. 3D printing applications are evolving beyond prototyping to functional part manufacturing in various industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, automotive, medical, aerospace, and consumer goods.

When supply chain disruptions occur, 3D printing technology enables the rapid availability of much-needed parts. Also, additive manufacturing is an optimal solution for production ramp-up. Outsourcing 3D printing allows the easy shift from one material and technology to another by reducing the risk and cost of implementing its infrastructure.

The Upsurge of Digital Supply Chain

3D printing drives streamlined processes for greater efficiency and cost reduction. Digital warehousing platforms will enable companies to manage their parts more efficiently throughout their lifecycle. Companies can eliminate warehousing and maintain an integrated or connected ordering system. 

In 2023 we can witness a digital supply chain that uses additive manufacturing technologies, leading to transparency, sustainability, flexibility, and efficiency.

Upgrades in the 3D Printing Sector

There are two types of 3D printing users: experts that are committed to the technology and want their printers to operate more reliably and effectively.  The second category of users are exploratory, who can appreciate the advantages of 3D printing but require assistance in putting it into practice and challenging the status quo in their respective industries.

Now it has become an obligation for businesses to train and upskill their staff to leverage the power of 3D printing for business growth. For this, organizations need to spend time and money training new employees, so outsourcing 3D printing makes sense.

The Enormous Benefits of Outsourcing 3D Printing

3D printing offers many benefits, including quicker prototyping, enhanced product quality, and more. However, only businesses with the right 3D design and modeling skills can benefit from these advantages. 

1. Prompt Prototypes Creation

A crucial part of manufacturing firms is creating prototypes, which requires resources, time, and effort. 3D printing enables companies to manufacture prototypes in less time while saving money. 

2. Optimum-Quality Products

Businesses can use 3D printing to create high-quality products at a lower cost. The computer-controlled 3D printer creates a replica of the original product or prototype, guaranteeing unmatched quality.

3. No Equipment Handling Hassles

Businesses can avoid the headache of maintaining manufacturing facilities by outsourcing 3D printing. They can conserve space, reduce operating and maintenance expenses, and expedite production without any equipment. Additionally, as 3D printers are more adaptable, there is less worry about interruptions that can halt the manufacturing process.

4. Low Manpower

Outsourcing 3D printing isn’t as labor-intensive as traditional manufacturing. It has advanced 3D solutions that are fully computer-driven and come with robust technology. Considering that outsourced 3D designers are often highly skilled and can handle more work, the number of people required is also fewer. Virtual 3D designers use advanced tools to optimize operations and deliver optimum results.

Why 3D Printing Is Better Outsourced Than Done In-House

Interesting Read: The Emerging Trends That Will Redefine Logistics Outsourcing in 2023

Businesses shouldn't attempt to make everything in-house. Even the largest Fortune 500 companies outsource 3D printing projects despite having resources at their disposal.

Here are the four reasons why 3D printing is better outsourced than in-house.


Every firm faces resource shortages, which can cause impediments in the business processes. Businesses that outsource 3D printing might use more capacity. A reliable outsourcing supplier optimizes printing outcomes and eliminates production delays using powerful 3D printers with the best build capacity.

On the other hand, to install 3D printers, manufacturers or service providers need to make considerable facility changes. Some 3D printers are too big to enter through regular doorways, some demand sophisticated power requirements, and others need ventilation. These changes are expensive, and in some cases, they might not even be achievable at the in-house facility.


3D printing is ever-changing. New tools, materials, and processes are pushing the bounds of what is conceivable. Keeping up with evolution can be an expensive endeavor for the in-house team. Also, many businesses cannot afford to invest in new 3D technologies because of their high upfront costs and the rapid speed of innovation, which could render them obsolete in a few years. 

With outsourcing, businesses can access cutting-edge technology without investing in them. In addition, not having the right machinery, such as an SLA machine, for a specific technical project pushes businesses towards outsourcing 3D printing services. 


The 3D printing sector is novel and creates materials in unique ways that traditional manufacturing cannot match. However, 3D printing requires skill to work well. Changes to the equipment, build orientation, material mix, and support material alters the results. For this, businesses need knowledge and understanding to use the equipment. 

When firms outsource their 3D design requirements, they get access to highly qualified, skilled, and experienced staff. Outsourcing brings a high level of expertise, not just the services.


High-end 3D printers can be pricey to buy. In addition to the expense of the machines, businesses also need the infrastructure, skilled labor, and raw materials to run them. With technology and tools, companies still need staff to run the process. Even if a firm has the right equipment, outsourcing a project could be less expensive than in-house.

Top 3D Printing Challenges

There are many advantages of 3D printing, including effectiveness, speed, waste reduction, zero errors, and lower costs. If you are still debating whether to outsource 3D printing or build it in-house, then knowing the challenges of 3D printing can help you decide which path to take.

Employing a 3D printer for the internal production of large parts pose several challenges for businesses to overcome, including:

Common Challenges in 3D Printing

A study reveals 25% of businesses cited equipment prices as the biggest obstacle to 3D printing. That response shouldn't be a surprise because most firms require more than one 3D printer to manage the volume of orders they receive, and saving up for the initial outlay can take some time.

Another expense related to additive manufacturing is the cost of production and processing. Although 3D printers are autonomous, firms still need a professional to send the digital file to the printer, check the printer setup, and start the printing process. 

Technical Challenges in 3D Printing

3D printers are vulnerable to errors producing components that can't adhere to strict tolerance standards. This problem poses a hurdle for the use of additive manufacturing in fields that demand exceptionally high levels of accuracy, like the aerospace or automobile industries.

How to Overcome 3D Printing Challenges

Are you unsure how to integrate 3D printing into your firm, having trouble designing, or are overwhelmed with the cost or technical challenges of owning your 3D printers? It is best to outsource 3D printing to a trustworthy outsourcing partner. One of the biggest obstacles to 3D printing is upfront equipment expenditures, uneven outcomes, and a lack of understanding of the technology. An experienced 3D printing partner may assist you in overcoming many of these challenges. 


The debate over employing an internal or external 3D printing service ends. No matter what stage an organization is at, outsourcing can assist a business in achieving its 3D printing objectives without going over budget.

To maximize your marketing budget, consider outsourcing your 3D printing to Flowz's experts, with over 23 years of experience. Your brand's growth is what we strive for.

Written by Sabeeha Banu

Sabeeha is an avid reader, writer, and poet with experience writing in various genres. She is adept at delivering write-ups that drive engagement. In her free time, you can find her soaking in the mesmerizing beauty of nature and weaving her thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Outsourcing 3D Printing: Is It The Best Bet For Your Business?

  1. Thank you for sharing this article. It has been very helpful and informative. I have gained a thorough understanding of the printing industry from reading it.

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