Category: Consumer

Miller 3D Utilizes Unlikely Combination Of Additive And Subtractive Manufacturing To Build Parts

Miller 3D recently completed a project for a client who requested multiple 3D printed automotive parts for personal applications. While the case may seem pedestrian, the process to create the automotive parts is unique in nature.

The uniqueness centers around the ability to build the requested automotive parts using additive and subtractive manufacturing.  

Additive manufacturing is a process that involves building 3D objects by building layers of material, such as plastic or metal, upon layers of the same material to form a predesigned 3D object or shape.

Why use additive and subtractive manufacturing for a project when additive and subtractive manufacturing are completely opposite just as the names suggest?

In this case, one builds, the other finishes. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, had a large role in the quality and strength of the automotive parts.

“Additive manufacturing was used to create a near-net-part that simulates a casting process, says Matt Jones, Manager at Miller 3D, “Then the automotive parts were machined to the required tolerances.”

While additive manufacturing was utilized to build the automotive parts, subtractive manufacturing was employed in the final stages of the project.

Contrary to additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing is the process of tools cutting material away at a solid block of material from various angles, leaving the desired 3D shape or object intact, and does not require post processing.

Matt explains that traditionally, small batch castings for machining from solid billet, a solid block or chunk of metal, is expensive and time consuming. In this instance, this wasn’t the case as a result of utilizing both additive and subtractive manufacturing to build and finish the requested automotive parts.

One of the many other advantages of 3D printing objects is the time required to deliver parts and apply them for usage — “We were able to print multiple parts and finish machining within a week timeframe,” Matt adds.

3D Systems ProJet ™ 3000 Delivers Realistic, Functional Color Prototypes

Recently a global healthcare company backed by decades of innovation with leadership positions in hormone replacement therapy and diabetes care began to evaluate 3D printers. This company is committed to combating Diabetes through awareness, education and superior treatment options. Their goal is to arm patients with the necessary information and leadership technology and encourage them to take charge of their condition.

New Heights with 3D Systems’ SLA 3D Printing Technology

In 2013 Apple sold more than 170 million iPads® worldwide. With a reported 500 million iPhones® in use along with millions of Samsung® Galaxy phones and a variety of other mobile devices, it goes without saying this market is hot. Likewise, the ensuing demand for peripheral devices, such as headsets, is exploding.

Fujikon, an award-winning headphone manufacturer for over 30 years, is itself on the wild ride of the headset and speaker market for mobile devices. In a market that’s getting more competitive by the day, innovation is a must. The Hong Kong-based Fujikon is no exception, as they are constantly exploring better noise-cancelling functionality, wireless connectivity and sound quality as well as innovating more attractive products and enabling faster time-to-market. In order to survive, these components are all core demands for any major market player.

In 2011 Fujikon had to take the next step forward; they realized that their 200-strong R&D team needed to adopt new practices and technologies in order to enable faster product development. 3D printing was at the top of the list. So in June of the same year, company executives asked a team to review, test and evaluate all the major 3D printing technologies.

parts-fujikon-webSLA printed parts for Fujikon on ProJet 7000Over 18 months, the team benchmarked multiple systems inside and out based on what they required: a sizeable build platform, precision, very smooth surface finish, and material properties (assuring that parts could be assembled, drilled and screwed without breaking).

Only one 3D printer matched all their specifications: the ProJet® 7000. With the help of reseller Shanghai Metang Novatech, Fujikon brought in the ProJet 7000, and as of May 2013 they had fully installed it, trained the staff and were off and running.

The ProJet 7000 is 3D Systems’ workhorse Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. It gives users the hallmark precision of SLA with a versatile build size of 380 x 380 x 250 mm. Its two laser sizes enable users to rapidly create parts while ensuring feature accuracy, smooth surface finish, and a choice of layer thickness. The material Fujikon tested, VisiJet® SL Flex, offered toughness for assembly testing, screwing and fit testing, while still having a perfect surface finish.

“As soon as we started, we could see and experience the stability of the ProJet 7000,” said Mr. Chunxiang Wu. “This was perfect die-less manufacturing: we produced accurate samples with arbitrary and complex geometry that we would not have considered before.”

The R&D teams were delighted with the fact that the ProJet 7000 was fast enough to print overnight, and it enabled them to test the product designs the next day.

“The ProJet 7000 instantly started to help our customers, our engineers,” said Mr. Wu. “We could think up a new idea, and within a day could evaluate the design, perform validation and verification of the parts and assemblies, conduct acoustic testing, review packaging design and reduce the risks associated with producing tooling for the new products. Before, the same process would have taken a longer time.”

With the ProJet 7000 entrenched as part of its everyday operation, Fujikon is seeing benefits across the board. Preliminary estimates indicate a first year savings of 5% in total production development time and at least 11% materials savings compared to the team’s old 3D printer. Most notably, 3D parts production is now an amazing 62% faster compared to Fujikon’s older methodologies.

“With the competitive market environment, and increasing manpower costs, we have to find ways to be better at what we do,” said Mr. Wu. “The ProJet 7000 is allowing us to meet demand and compete in the market. We complete product development effectively and efficiently, and we are excited to see how 3D printing from 3D Systems will improve our competitive edge as we go forward.”