3D printing is not the perfect tool for every usage and we are going to see through this article why you should use it or not and how 3D printing can be useful during crises through my experience with the Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020 in France. This article follows my introduction to 3D printing at home, feel free to read it if you want to learn more about the processes.
Why should you use 3D printing and why you shouldn't
As we saw in the previous article, 3D printers are very versatile, you can print in one day, parts for a robot, then a ring, and finally a spare part for your bathroom by just changing the file on an SD card or USB stick. But this great flexibility also has some compromises, if you want to manufacture a part in large quantities or have your production certified, this method is not optimal. Printing a part takes a lot of time. A stack of 10 face shield like this one can take up to 11 hours to print :
Of course, this time can be reduced to a few hours on some machines by reducing the quality, but it will not be possible to approach the speed of a manufacturing process such as plastic injection for example, which can easily produce 2 face shields every 40 seconds or so: