Let's start by a quick question: How much time do you have (or printing time) available?
- Little time: go with plastic injection molds and hope for a lot of luck.
- You have months ahead: then study minutely the numerous advantages offered by 3D printers and a 3D printer farm or cluster.
Flexibility and freedom of part modifications or updates have an extremely high value and must be minutely considered. Lacking of part modification flexibility may become a dead end trap.
A very dangerous fact of going the polymer injection molds way is that a mold is not flexible. It is not conceived to allow parts modification quickly nor often. Usually, it is also designed for a specific plastic resin. It may not be possible to switch to a less brittle or to a more affordable resin later, for example.
If your part design is in production since many months to a few years, then molds are very probably the best way to go.
However, if the product is new and not in production yet... It is not mature. Then the numerous advantages of 3D printers to mass-produce the parts will pay off.
Refer to many new product launches and crowdfunding campaigns out there!
For example, do you prefer tens of thousands worth of molds that turned out obsolete or tens of thousands worth of 3D printers that can print whatever you need when you need it and in different materials too (even multi-material within a single part)?
Today, some manufacturers use 3D printers to have an additive mass production of about 500000 3D printed parts assembled into around 18000 finished products a year.
All micro & small enterprises that manufacture plastic parts could profit from the advantages offered by a 3D printer farm. It is more feasible than ever to mass produce locally and create jobs. ColoriLAB 3D filaments aim is to enhance it and help make 3D printer mass production viable.
It is not obvious, but it is a new available option to mass production that is feasible today.
You are invited to discuss this topic below.