But like I said before it's still a fused filament process with more-or-less the same tolerance constraints.
There was a problem with cables we needed fitting into the ports of a particular brand of laptop. The solution was to just cut a bit off a standard cable and it would fit. So instead of cutting hundreds of cables with a knife they whipped up something that would hold a razor blade in the perfect place so you could just slide the cable down the groove and cut the part off. Then a problem arose that the increased efficiency was causing strain on the operators thumb so they iterated the design to be more of a press guillotine.
But perhaps the most exciting was when a machined part got replaced with a 3D printed part. They wanted to add a release mechanism to this metal part and first attempts included doing what they thought this machine was for, prototyping the mechanism, trying it out, hoping that they could translate that into a machinable part before sending it to the machine shop. However eventually someone came up with the bright idea that the release mechanism could be 3D printed into the part, embedded as it were, using the unique properties of 3D printing. Now this part is going to be used in the production machine straight off the 3D printer. The problem is solved and they didn't have to wait a week to get the part back from the machine shop. The plastic is strong enough for the job and the demand is low enough that this is a perfectly workable solution. Now they’re impressed that 3D printing isn't producing prototypes, it’s producing production quality parts faster and in some ways better than any other method.
3D printing. In some way it’s replacing traditional manufacturing but for the most part it is simply broadening the tools available and making things possible that weren’t before and easier than they’ve ever been. These aren’t the sort of things that wouldn’t do anyone any good on Thingiverse since no one else could use them, but in many ways that’s the coolest thing about 3D printing. There doesn’t need to be anyone else who needs them.