One of the main applications of using 3D printing in the Robotics industry is to produce prototype parts and iterate the design as soon as possible without wasting much time on testing.
Product development is an iterative process where designers want to test their designs as fast as possible and conclude their results on what works best and what doesn't work. The word “prototyping” means to create a temporary working or replica of the original design in order to verify its functionality, appearance, and testing under working conditions so the designer can validate the results in order to improve his/her existing design or finalize his/her design to go for actual production. Rapid prototyping means immediate creation of his/her design into physical form using some of the quickest manufacturing techniques like “additive manufacturing” technologies, CNC machining, Laser cutting and even CAD program where we can visually see, simulate different finite element analysis tests are also considered as rapid prototyping technologies.
When it comes to rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing technologies are best suited for creating prototypes because the cost and lead time are very less compared to traditional manufacturing technologies where it produces huge waste/scrap and also takes a long time to produce them. Also in the case of “product design” where it requires more iterative development of the product before it reaches the customer. Sometimes the company has to make several iterations of design and testing very quickly so they can develop the product at each iteration. Additive manufacturing helps in minimizing the time in an iteration of product development by almost 60 to 85%.