Quickly visualize ideas
3D printing helps in a few ways in coming up with and validating new product concepts. It’s fast to print models so you can see what a design looks like right away. As you or your team keeps tweaking the idea new versions can be printed out quickly to show the updates. And it’s way cheaper than old-school prototyping methods, especially for complex or custom products. Having an actual model to show rather than just pictures can really help sell an idea.
When working on functional prototypes, 3D printing has advantages too. You can use different materials to match the properties of the final product closely. For stuff with moving parts, you can print working models to test out the mechanisms and motions. And you can have real users try out the prototypes to see how they work in the real world.
Substitute parts in a product to test the fit and function without the final materials or manufacturing. If a product is made up of multiple parts, 3D printing can check if they fit together right. This is key for catching design issues early on.