One of the major advantages of 3D printing is in the ability to reduce part count. I’ve always felt that this advantage doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is hardly mentioned in the media and its implications and advantages seem to not be understood. Therefore here is my attempt at a hopefully convincing article on reducing part count through 3D printing.
By reducing part count, we mean that a complex thing such as a rocket engine consists of a 100 parts when made with conventional manufacturing. When we redesign that rocket engine for 3D printing we can then perhaps reduce the total number of parts to three. NASA and other aerospace companies have already found this out by reducing parts from 115 to one or fewer.