Fail Fast, Fail Cheap: The Wonders of Additive Manufacturing

3D Printers (like the one at MAGNET's facility in the background) and additive manufacturing are providing manufactureres with endless product possibilities and solutions. (Photo Credit: cody.white)

There’s been much talk about 3D printing lately, and rightly so: 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is changing the world’s approach to product development. Innovation in this field is growing and the benefits are inarguable.

MAGNET engineer and additive manufacturing expert Dave Pierson often refers to the additive manufacturing process as rapid prototyping, meaning the ability to quickly produce product prototypes. Pierson points out that this is convenient for quickly preparing prototypes for investors. But, he continues, additive manufacturing offers so much more than that.

Here are Pierson’s five favorite characteristics of additive manufacturing:

1. 100% Customizable

The process of additive manufacturing is almost completely automated- all you have to do is enter the design into the computer, and it does the rest. You are then able to add to, subtract from, write on, color in, and otherwise fashion your prototype until it is to your satisfaction. The result is what Pierson terms the IFR (Ideal Final Result), or “your perfect solution.”

2. Decreased Waste, Increased Savings

The counterpart to additive manufacturing is subtractive manufacturing. Subtractive manufacturing is the process of creating a product by chipping away at a block of material. Additive manufacturing, on the other hand, is the process of creating a product by layering material up. With additive manufacturing, you aren’t wasting material, because you layer only the material that will comprise the final product.  That makes additive manufacturing both efficient and cost-effective.

3. Eliminate Risk

Communication between teams can be challenging, and sometimes the lines between engineers and businesses get crossed. Your business may intend for a product to look a certain way, but find the engineer has interpreted it differently. Soon the resulting prototype is completely off the mark. With additive manufacturing, you can avoid this hassle. You can build a prototype of the product exactly as you envision it before it is actually produced. By collaborating with the engineer on precise 3D renderings of the product, you can address any concerns before printing occurs.

4. Infinite Possibilities

Pierson stresses that his clients must “explore the space.” 3D printing allows for the use of over a hundred different materials, materials that can be used either separately or combined for a variety of effects. Even better, this immense variety can be achieved with minimal time. With additive manufacturing, the sky is the limit; you can create everything from prosthetic limbs to houses.

5. Complexity is Free

Additive manufacturing is done layer by layer- material is added until your design comes to fruition. This layer by layer process allows for complexity and intricacy: details can be ‘grown’ as the printer builds the prototype a thousandth of an inch at a time.

Pierson stresses that with 3D printing, you can “fail fast, fail cheap.” You can rapidly produce a prototype in hours rather than weeks, and if the prototype is a failure, you can tweak it with ease and reprint. On top of that, additive manufacturing is cheap: you aren’t paying for expensive materials or a mold. If a prototype fails, as it inevitably will sometimes, the failure is quick and inexpensive.

3D printing can change the way you do business, making your work more cost and time efficient. If you’re interested in learning more about additive manufacturing, touring our facilities, or using our additive manufacturing resources, please contact Dave Pierson at

Posted by MAGNET Ohio in Additive Manufacturing

Most Recent

Boosting Business through Responsible Growth

May 02, 2018 by MAGNET Ohio

Article submitted by Bank of America For mid-market companies, business success and responsible growth aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, prioritizing responsible growth is becoming increasingly important, and successful companies are making sustainability central to their growth strategies. Beyond good corporate citizenship, they are recognizing the intrinsic link between the strength of their business and that of the communities and economies in which they operate. Leading your growth with those goals in mind builds resilience and better solutions for the future. Consider the following: Responsible growth companies perform better. Companies that consider the impact of risks and opportunities on the environment, local communities and society may produce better financial results than those that don’t. Additionally, 90% of companies believe a sustainability plan is important for remaining competitive. Responsible growth companies attract investment. A 2016 study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,000 executives and managers from more than 100 countries. Findings revealed that 75% of senior executives in investment firms agree that a company’s sustainability performance is materially important to their investment decisions, and nearly half would not invest in a company with a poor sustainability record. Ninety percent of executives see sustainability as important, but only


February 22, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need

Manufacturing is Facing a New Reality

February 06, 2018 by Sam Wasylyshyn

How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent[1]. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report[2], AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space: