3D manufacturing: Which One to Use: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

The never-ending decision-making process of an engineer in its daily routine.

3D Modeling Software
High-Precision Micrometer.

If you ask an engineer the answer to the 3D manufacturing question “Which one to use: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?” the answer will always be the same, “it depends”. As engineers, we are on a constant decision-making process, and to make those decisions, we need to be able to support ourselves with different tools that help us make these choices better and faster, without compromising the quality of the final product, of course. 

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   These tools can be either physical, such as measurement devices, or computational ones like 3D manufacturing CAD software. And according to the precision we need to accomplish in a project, a different tool can be used with different precision levels. It is not the same to design a microscope’s component than a suitcase. Even though, when both have to be high-quality products, the tolerance for the suitcase’s design might have a greater range to play with, but with the microscope’s component, the tolerance range might not be that big.

How to pick the right material?

Now, going back to the question, Which one to use: Aluminum or Stainless steel? To answer this, as engineers and professionals of the design industry we have to know the purpose of the product we are working on. If we are designing something that has to be light in weight, Aluminum wins over Stainless steel. If strength is more important, Stainless steel is the best choice for sure. But if you need strength and lightweight you could use stainless steel and make perforations to reduce weight if the design purpose permits it. If the application requires high thermal conductivity, Aluminum is the right one. For a design that will be exposed to a corrosive environment, you would have to select Stainless steel over Aluminum. 

3D Modeling Software
Bulldozer.

   The questioning-process mentioned above can be repeated over and over during the decision making process.  Whether we are designing a bike or a bulldozer, the question-yourself process is important to guarantee we always took the best selection. In order to accomplish the goal, and engineers and designers have managed to build design philosophies and methodologies to make high-quality and faster decisions that can be synchronized with our mental processes. These processes involve research, brainstorming, drawings, sketching, 3D manufacturing modeling, mathematical and physics calculus, and even building score systems that permit accounting each and every aspect of the design together (including pricing) to make the best decisions in each and every main area of the project.

How could this be related to 3D modeling software?

Selecting software is no different from the decision-making process of designing a product or the process of material selection like  Aluminum vs Stainless Steel. When we select software, we have to understand its capacities, including of course the pricing and why it can help us develop a better outcome for our work. 

   In order to make the selection easier, we elaborated a list of features that are a must-have in a 3D modeling tool and will help you take the option with the capabilities that fulfill your desires and needs on a software. 

  • 3D manufacturing printing is a trendy technology a allows for rapid prototyping and testing. The benefits of this newer manufacturing technology imply the need for a 3D modeling software with printing compatibility.  
  • The ability to instantly sharing all 3D modeling parts related to your project with your team members is a must-have in every software in order to remain competitive in today’s market. This could be possible only with cloud-based software 
  • A parametrization capability. While working on your design, sometimes you may need to change dimensions in order to study and define a better approach to the solution of a problem, or simply make modifications to the parts because the client’s dimensions requirements have changed. These features should be included in each desired step of the 3D modeling process and is a must-have in your desired 3D modeling tool.  
  • A collaboration tool that gives the option to multiple team members to work simultaneously on the same part, and conceding at the same time clients and other important individuals for your project to visualize the design process using only-view permissions avoiding modifications that could happen because of a human mistake by those non-experts.
  • Data management tools and 3D Part libraries that allows you and your team to manage more efficiently the data associated with your model, and even with capacities to undo/redo actions when need it. The 3D part library creates access to a large number of parts that can become time savers and consequently money-savers on the 3D modeling construction process of your project.
3D Modeling Software

What else do you need?

Each point listed above is needed by every engineer and design software to create faster and better ways to accomplish the project. And all these features and many others come built within the capacities of Solidface’s software. The software is a collaborative cloud-based tool that permits you and your team members to take advantage of all the mentioned capability. In addition, if your product has moving parts, like bikes, coolers caps, suitcases or cars, you can create with Solidface’s software 3D motion simulations to make movements representations and even to perform clash and collision tests. All of these things are included in the software for only 129$/month per user, representing the best price you will find in the market considering the benefits of the software. In other words, the best cost/benefit relationship out in the market. 

   As with the question of the Aluminum and the Stainless Steel, a decision has to be made considering your needs and your goals for the right selection of a 3D modeling software. We created a list to help you with that decision. And also, you can do some free test trial of Solidface’s software to confirm that it is indeed the best alternative for you and your team.

So this leads to the real question: How much time will you waist before making the changes that you and your team need? The competitiveness of today’s world will not let  you wait that much, either you adapt to remain competitive or others players will do it first, and if you take too long to perform the appropriate changes such as changing to Solidface, you might find harder to keep the rhythm established in your industry and eventually you and your team will lose the race in your field.