3D Printing is both fast and slow. If you want to get a single item from design into your hands as a physical object, it is very fast. If you are relying on 3D printing to manufacture hundreds of parts, then this becomes a challenge and a topic for academics (an answer, if you're curious, is a 3D printing farm of a few hundred printers can be quicker than injection molding, but it depends on size, shape, and whether assembly is required.) At DioWarriors we have been upscaling many of our 1:18 scale kits into 1:12 scale. Some items can be easily enlarged by simply rescaling the object in CAD. Other items need to be remade from scratch, and still other items require a combination of rescaling and then adjusting the details of the design.
When it comes to the actual printing, it takes time to print a larger model. There's more material that gets used and more area to fill in. What would take 3 hours to print may take 5 hours, easily.
At DioWarriors we normally would keep items on-hand for inventory, but the reality is we often get more orders for certain models than we can 3D print to replenish the inventory. For many items we end up having to print-on-demand. That is something we don't want to do and have been trying hard to break out of that. So we print extra items when we can with the aim of rebuilding inventory. Printing extra items means we're not printing items that we need to fill an order. So it becomes not quite a Catch 22, but something like that.
With 1:12 scale we're trying a different approach. We'll only make items available in the store when we have the item already 3D printed and ready in inventory. In this way we hope to avoid delay from the manufacturing process and simply grab the item and place it into a shipping box. But there's a down side to this. Folks are going to notice many 1:12 items will be unavailable -- "sold out" -- until we replenish the inventory. Such a thing happened in the past when DioWarriors first started. In those early days we didn't have as many 3D printers as we do now, so items were listed in the store and quickly sold out. We would scramble to print the models, but as soon as the store got updated, orders would quickly make those items sold out again. Then folks hit Facebook to complain that our items were always sold out.
So it's going to be something unavoidable. But with 1:12 taking longer to 3D print the big fear is it'll interfere with the regular 1:18 scale items. We'll try to get dedicated machines just for the 1:12 scale. But until then, please excuse an unavailable items. We're trying, but any solution will still take time.
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