Apple Experimenting With 3D Printing to Create Devices

Apple is using 3D printers to make the chassis for some of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 models, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The new manufacturing process that Apple is testing would use less material than the large slabs of metal that are needed for traditional CNC manufacturing, plus it would cut down on the time that it takes to make new devices.

stainless series 8 apple watch
With a technique called "binder jetting," Apple is able to print a device's outline at close to its actual shape using a powdered substance. A second process uses heat and pressure to squeeze the material into a substance that feels like steel, and it is then refined with milling.

Gurman's information echoes what we've already heard from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Back in July, Kuo said that the upcoming second-generation Apple Watch Ultra will include 3D printed mechanical parts. Specifically, he claimed that Apple is "actively adopting 3D printing technology," and that some of the titanium components in the new Apple Watch Ultra would be 3D printed.

Gurman claims that Apple plans to use this new 3D printing method for the chassis of the stainless steel ‌Apple Watch Series 9‌ models rather than components for the Ultra but either way, it sounds like Apple is more actively testing this manufacturing method as of 2023. Gurman says that Apple plans to 3D print titanium devices in 2024.

A shift to 3D printing for some device production would allow Apple to improve manufacturing times and potentially cut down on costs. Kuo said that if Apple's work on the 2023 Apple Watch models went well, Apple would use 3D printing for more devices in the future.

According to Gurman, Apple and Apple suppliers have been developing the 3D printing method for at least three years. Gurman confirms that Apple will expand the process to more products over the next several years if Apple Watch tests are successful.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

ProfessionalFan Avatar
8 months ago
Will those reduced production costs be passed onto the customers?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mapsdotapp Avatar
8 months ago
Warning: Your replacement Digital Crown was not 3D printed with Apple Genuine matter. ECG recording has been disabled to protect your health data.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jay Tee Avatar
8 months ago
All I want to hear about the Apple Watch is one thing:

Blood Glucose, when and at what price.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Iconoclysm Avatar
8 months ago

Sounds too cheap. I’m not a big fan of 3D products. Give us the real material and bring back Ceramic to the Apple products.
This isn't a plastic printing machine...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
appleguy123 Avatar
8 months ago
This sounds like a huge downgrade from unibody construction.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
8 months ago

Will those reduced production costs be passed onto the customers?
I mean the price of the Apple Watch stayed the same since S4, despite having newer and more expensive tech each year and factoring inflation. The price staying the same is a win for customers in itself. Would you really see the difference if it was 5-10$ less?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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