Will 3D printer help me to produce refrigerator parts?

With the emerging technology, the world is changing. Manufacturing plants have a huge potential for the economic growth of any country. The different ways of manufacturing goods and its production have a terrific impact on the economy. The skills, innovation and technical ideas from the youngsters bring the successful products of tomorrow.
Technological innovation is the key to the success of any small manufacturing industry. The three main aspects of manufacturing a product are it’s:
1)Design(Appearance and color)
I run a small home appliance manufacturing industry here in Canada. We deal mainly with refrigerators and washing machines. I am here to get some suggestion on this. The main concern is the maintenance and cleaning of machines. We assemble the components and then make the arrangements for the product. Here there is production equipment that needs to be taken care of properly. So we usually hire industrial cleaning services from Markham. My question is whether we can print refrigerator parts like feet, knobs etc with 3D printer? Will a 3D printer help me to replace broken parts of a refrigerator? Please share your valuable thoughts on this. Waiting for your kind replies. Thanks in advance.

I’m a plastics manufacturer/injection molder.
At the moment, my belief is that 3D printing “in production” is pretty isolated to a rather narrow sweet spot.
Assuming the part can be 3d printed, and will be of good enough quality/durability for the given application…the volume has to be enough that manually machining/fabricating the part would be too costly. Yet, if that quantity gets high enough, it would be costly not to have a mold made and actually thermoform the part.

Even a small part will take some time to print. If you need 2000 of them, it’s going to take days. Unless you buy 10 printers. In which case, you could probably have a small injection mold made for the same cost. And have them made in a couple hours for pennies a piece. Probably a total cost per part that would be less than just the cost of the filament to print them. In my world, filament is a finished part that somebody’s already added value to by extruding it from resin.

That all being said…a few years ago when 3d printing started sniffing it’s way into the greater word, your industry was the first I thought could benefit. Imagine, an appliance service tech coming to your house to figure out what’s wrong with your washing machine.
“Found your problem. It’s the little gear/lever/rocker/doohickey thing in the control knob assembly. Nobody keeps those in inventory. I’ll go back to the office and order that part and I’ll see you in a week.”

I believe one day it will be “There’s your problem. It’s the doohickey for the knob. Let me call the shop and tell them to log in to the GE service site and have them start printing one. I’ll get it after I finish my next call and be back this afternoon.”

In short, yes! You can rapidly prototype the part and produce in smaller quantities.

For mass production and speed, you need a larger industrial grade 3D printer and/or CNC machine.

Thank you Jhaack and Benprusinski for your valuable suggestions. What do you mean by an industrial grade 3D printer? Are there any specific instructions and benefits for that particular one? Also, if producing small parts are possible with a 3D printer, will it be affordable for mass production? I apologize for these many questions. Hope I will get it cleared here. Thanks again!!!

Industrial grade 3D printer have capacity to mass produce large quantities in less time. Something like this is what big places use:



Unfortunately it will cost big bucks. Most 3D printers are great for smaller projects and prototypes but printing takes hours or days for large objects and mass amounts. For example, I printed a case for my Arduino in about an hour, tweezers in 25 minutes on quick print, and a soap dish holder in 2 hours. One shop that does commercial printing in NYC has 100 3D printers! They need that to make it viable for business.

Thanks for the update Benprusinski. Great information and I will definitely think about it. Have a nice time.