Could 3D printing replace small parts manufacturing?

Lead times for small or obscure parts can be long and expensive. Sourcing a part can cause delays along the supply chain that cause enough disruption to lose a client. The ability to self-source via 3-D printing can save a company countless days and dollars, even when small manufactures are able to ship a part on the spot.

What 3-D printing provides is a turnkey solution. Through access to CAD files that take up less space than a warehouse, a seller can create a necessary part in minutes rather than wait the days or hours needed to expedite one from a supplier. It can also become its own source provider if it has the capability to print in other mediums such as metal.

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