Manager’s Guide to Compact Industrial Metal 3D Printers

With the metal additive manufacturing market experiencing a stage of high-growth, Machine shops are starting to look into Compact Industrial Metal 3D printer as a necessary addition to existing CNC machining, and are investigating how to bring this capability in-house.

Until recently, most of the focus in metal additive manufacturing has been on large-scale, highly complicated, and expensive printer hardware. As a result, the conversation is often directed towards throughput rather than accessibility. But, investing in $1M+ printer hardware that requires a dedicated space might not be feasible. Aside from the high capital, operation and maintenance costs, most industrial metal 3D printers also require a large footprint, not to mention a large learning curve. However, there are still options for companies unable to spend seven figures and build a dedicated space.

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This relatively new sub-segment of Compact Industrial Metal 3D printers (or metal “Desktop” printers) offer a more accessible price-point and shorter learning curve, while still offering industrial-level production and quality. SmarTech has identified Machine Shops as one of the primary customers investigating this market and have developed a Manager’s Guide to help facilitate the journey.

This Manager's Guide Will Include:

The definition and requirements for Compact Industrial Metal 3D printers.

An overview of the hardware technologies, with things to consider and the pros and cons of each.

An in-depth discussion on the various applications within automotive, aerospace, medical / dental, and general manufacturing.

A critical comparison of CNC machining vs. Compact Industrial Metal 3D printing.

A detailed review of each of the current notable Compact Industrial Metal 3D printers on or about to enter the market.

A discussion on cost of ownership of the various technologies and notable Compact Industrial Metal 3D printers.

This report is directed toward the end user market, the companies who are active users of additive manufacturing or considering its adoption. While suppliers of additive manufacturing may find the report useful, this study differs from our related study, Compact Industrial Metal AM Printer Market Opportunities 2019, which provides broader analysis and forecasting of the addressable market for the supply chain.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction

1.1 Background and Objective

1.2 Definition and Requirements

1.2.1 Accessibility

1.2.2 Speed and Quality

1.2.3 Applicability

1.2.4 Cost

1.2.5 Summary and Comparison of Compact Industrial vs. High-end and Maker/Prosumer Printers

Chapter Two: Printer Technologies

2.1 Powder Bed Fusion (PBF)

2.2 Material Extrusion (ME)

2.3 Directed Energy Deposition (DED)

2.4 Summary

Chapter Three: Applications of Compact Industrial Metal 3D Printers

3.1 Applications in a Product’s Lifecycle

3.2 Applications by Vertical

Chapter Four: Compact Industrial Metal Printers vs. CNC Machining

4.1 Physical Considerations of 3D Printing vs. CNC Machining

4.2 Economic Considerations of 3D Printing vs. CNC Machining

4.3 Summary of 3D Printing vs. CNC Machining

Chapter Five: Notable Compact Industrial Metal Printer Manufacturers

5.1 Additec

5.2 Aurora Labs

5.3 Desktop Metal

5.4 Markforged

5.5 OR Laser / Coherent

5.6 Pollen AM

5.7 Xact Metal

5.8 Others

5.9 Summary

Chapter Six: Cost of Ownership

6.1 Hardware Costs

6.2 Material Costs

6.3 Post Processing

About SmarTech Analysis
About the Analyst
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report


Kristin Mulherin

Senior Analyst

SmarTech Analysis

[email protected]

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