3D printing can reduce time to market because it enables engineers to make faster and better design decisions early in the development process. Most companies get their first prototypes from service bureaus because they don’t have their own 3D printer. Bureaus provide an invaluable service for those who aren't ready to purchase their own in-house 3D printer.
Today, after years of 3D printer price reductions, it has become easier to justify bringing them in house, even by companies that produce relatively small numbers of prototypes.
"A New Mindset in Product Design" is a Stratasys white paper that discusses the impact of 3D printing on the product development process. Following is the second of four excerpts from this white paper.