3D Printing allows you to create a cheaper and easier way of creating your prototypes & is now allowing manufacturing of low volume products.
Whilst 3D printing has traditionally been seen as an efficient method of prototyping, advancements in materials and production quality means that additive manufacturing has seen an increase in use for production of end use goods.
Quantities of products made depend on their size and complexity, but as the technology grows, making printers faster with bigger print beds, the ability for 3D printing to carve its place out in the big leagues grows with it.
Whilst traditional production methods are still used for mass manufacturing, the more niche markets are turning to 3D printing as a way of producing large quantities (by boutique market standards) as the cost remains lower than the often unapproachable investment of tooling.
Another use of 3D printing is to create plastic moulds, although they won’t last forever these can be an efficient small scale production method and allow for a means of testing before large scale manufacturing. This ensures accuracy of parts and moulds before spending copious amounts on metal tools.