Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Making the most of 3D Printing in Manufacturing

When it comes to leveraging the power of additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing (3DP), having a versatile family of 3D printers to choose from is essential, but making the most out of what they can do is what really matters. 3D printing has always been a perfect fit for rapid prototyping and will continue to serve this application very well. But the real beauty of 3D printing is that it removes the constraints associated with traditional manufacturing, providing a blank canvas upon which creative minds can develop new applications. To help expand your knowledge of the potential of 3D printing technology, we address six manufacturing applications typically associated with traditional production techniques.

Objective3D are hosting a series of Breakfast Seminars on Manufacturing with 3D Printing from 8th - 17th March where you can learn how 3D printing can make dramatic improvements in both time and cost efficiency when compared with traditional production methods associated with these applications. Real world examples are also provided to show that these aren’t just hypothetical scenarios. The companies highlighted in these seminars found a way to transform traditional manufacturing applications using 3D printing technology and bring their operation to a new level.

Use 3D Printed Jigs and Fixtures for dramatic time and cost savings
Jigs and fixtures are most commonly fabricated from metal, wood or plastic in quantities of just a few to several hundred using a manual or semi-automated process. On average, each tool takes between one and four weeks to design and build. However, elaborate or intricate tools may require several cycles of design, prototyping and evaluation to attain the required performance. In contrast to conventional manufacturing methods, 3DP technology provides a fast and accurate method of producing jigs and fixtures. Additionally, these tools can be designed for optimal performance and ergonomics because 3DP Technology places few constraints on tool configuration and 3DP materials are lightweight compared to metal.

3D Printed Compostie Tools enables faster, more agile composite production
The aerospace and automotive industries pioneered the use of composite materials for strong, lightweight vehicles and structures. However, the tooling used to create them is often heavy and bulky, machined from aluminum, steel or Invar (a nickel-iron alloy), at a substantial cost and lengthy production time. These same characteristics also hinder design flexibility. Changes to a composite part’s design mean the tooling needs to change, too. This repeats the cycle of high cost and long lead times, ultimately extending production cycles.

3DP technology offers an attractive alternative with disruptive potential. Composite lay-up tools made from 3DP materials can be designed and created in a fraction of the time and cost it takes to create them using conventional manufacturing. That frees up time and money for design iterations, while still maintaining acceptable production schedules.

3D Printed Production Parts
Most companies that manufacture high-volume products are looking for ways to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. However, the processes they use to manufacture their products are still heavily reliant on expensive tooling and long lead times. As a result, these companies are limited in their ability to respond quickly to market changes or implement product refinements. By integrating 3DP technology into production, manufacturers can bypass the traditional constraints to quickly develop and manufacture new products, and improve existing ones.

End-of-Arm Tooling with 3D Printing Technology (EOAT)
End-of-arm tools made with FDM technology offer a number of benefits over the traditional methods and materials used to make them. 3DP can produce working end effectors in a very short amount of time and for much less cost because there’s no machining or long lead times involved. Tool designs can be changed quickly and easily by revising the CAD model and printing a new tool. And design complexity isn’t a factor in the tool’s cost because of additive manufacturing’s inherent freedom from design-for-manufacturability constraints.

3D Printing accelerates the Sand Casting Process
The production of sand molds and cast metal parts is relatively straightforward and suitable for automated methods. However, fabrication of the patterns used to produce the sand molds is often difficult, time-consuming and expensive. The most common approach is to produce patterns using CNC machining, but the production costs are high and the lead time is substantial.

Problems like incorrect shrink compensation and design flaws generally require that the pattern is reworked, which adds to the expense and lead time. Gate and runner systems (distribution channels and entry points to the mold) are typically cut from modeling board or a similar material, hand-carved and then sanded to the finished shape. This also adds expense and lead time.

Because of these problems, foundries have turned to additive manufacturing. To replace the machined pattern, additively manufactured patterns must withstand the ramming forces that are applied to pack the sand, be abrasion resistant, and be unaffected by the chemicals in the sand binders and mold release. Most additive manufacturing technologies have been unable to meet these challenges.

However, 3DP materials like ABS, polycarbonate (PC), PC-ABS and ULTEM 9085 resin meet all of these requirements.

3DP parts have the compressive strength needed for use as a sand casting pattern. The surface finish of 3DP parts meets all the requirements of sand casting patterns when post-processed. Post-processing also seals the molding surface to prevent release agents from penetrating and sand from sticking.

From Packaging to Aerospace, 3D Printing makes Quick Work of  Thermo-forming Tools
While vacuum-formed production and tooling costs tend to remain reasonable for large parts, preparing tools for vacuum forming can be costly and time-consuming. Tools are usually made of aluminum for large production operations while wooden tools are sometimes used for small production series. Regardless of the material, tooling requires the time and labor associated with setting up and operating a milling machine. If machining is unavailable onsite, tooling may be outsourced, slowing time to market and potentially increasing design expenses.

Because thermo-forming doesn’t require extreme heat or pressure, additive manufacturing is a viable alternative. Although tool life will not equal that of aluminum, the materials available with 3DP technology are ideal for prototyping and short-run manufacturing. Tool life ranges from 100 to 1,000 parts depending on the tool and part materials that are used.

3D printing eliminates much of the time and labor associated with machining vacuum-forming tools. Data preparation is completed in minutes, so tool construction can begin immediately after tool design. Automated, unattended additive manufacturing operations eliminate the time typically needed for

Sign Up Now!
These manufacturing applications and more will be discussed in our up and coming Breakfast Seminar and will help your business ramp up and begin the process to implementation of 3D Printing. The Breakfast Seminars has limited seats, so SIGN UP NOW to save your spot! 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Ultimate 3D Printing Match Up: Laser Sintering vs. Fused Deposition Modeling

Laser Sintering (LS) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) are like the Peyton Manning and Cam Newton of 3D printing—Two of the best quarterbacks in the league, one about ten years older than the other (LS was commercialized in around 1980 and FDM around 1990), and currently both at the top of their game. LS and FDM are often compared because they both deliver similar materials and engineering-grade thermoplastics which give them the ability to serve functional and production manufacturing applications. Even though LS and FDM are equally capable of producing strong, durable parts, their divergent delivery mechanisms make certain geometries and applications better suited for one or the other. Learning the advantages and differences between technologies will help lead you to the best process for your project. Here we compare each technology when it comes to engineering challenges, applications and geometries:

Internal Features
You’ll see positive results on internal cavities with both FDM and LS when the features are accessible to a finisher removing supports. FDM offers break-away support which is manually removed by hand and soluble support which dissolves in a water-based solution (ideal for internal cavities). LS parts use the unsintered powder as support during the process, which can be easily brushed away post-build. For difficult to access internal features, you’ll find more success using LS regardless of material choice because excess powder can be easily brushed or blown away from cavities. Tough-to-reach internal features can be more difficult with FDM, especially with non-soluble support materials that need to be manually removed.
Large Parts
One of the largest build platforms in the industry is the Fortus 900mc (FDM technology) which measures 36”x24”x36”. The largest LS platform is the EOS P700 series at 24”x14”x20”, but building large parts can be problematic, depending on the geometry. FDM manufactures flat areas with ease while flat parts built with LS would likely warp if the walls are too thin. LS is often better suited for curved large parts with rounded features. However LS can successfully produce a large flat part if ribbing is included to reinforce the area.

Temperature Requirements
Both technologies offer materials specifically formulated for withstanding high temperatures, but FDM’s ULTEM materials hold the title for highest heat deflection temperature with ULTEM 9085 at HDT 153° C @ and ULTEM 1010 at HDT 213° C. ULTEM is also UL94 V-0 rated and passes the FAR. 25.853 60-second vertical burn test. However LS’s high-temp materials aren’t far off with Nylon 12 PA at HDT 86° C

Mechanical Performance
Laser Sintering has a clear advantage in isotropic mechanical properties with near consistency in X, Y, and Z. LS is also better positioned in terms of flexibility with Flex TPE material (8 MPa Tensile Modulus and 110% Elongation at Break) and a family of Nylons with better elongation properties than any other FDM materials. And when it comes to impact strength, both technologies are far above the other plastics processes in the field, but LS has select materials with slightly higher impact strength than most FDM materials (LS Nylon 12 PA is 4.12ft-lb/in and FDM PC-ABS is 3.7 ft-lb/in).

The Objective3D Direct Manufacturing Solution for you
Objective3D Direct Manufacturing has the expertise and technology range to deliver upon any of your additive manufacturing projects. However, if your project requires larger quantities of small parts – fast, Laser Sintering is the best technological solution for you. Per-part pricing is reduced as quantities increase, but there are more advantages to using Laser Sintering for small prototypes than price alone. To find out more read Delivering High Quantities of Prototypes Fast

Talk to us and find out how we can help you determine the best possible material for your project.

Ready to place an order? Get a RapidQuote or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS) 09-801 0380 (NZ)

Objective3D Direct Manufacturing is certified ISO 9001:2008 compliant and is powered by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with 16 commercial grade machines providing the widest range of 3D printing technologies and materials to enable a broad range of specialist solutions. With more than 1500 orders received and over 100,000 parts produced annually, Objective3D Direct Manufacturing is helping companies in diverse industries create extraordinary new products at every phase of the production process. For more details visit www.direct3dprinting.com.au