Is 3D printing making traditional tooling obsolete? Yes and no. There are certain applications where the former is hands down beating the competition: things we are accustomed to hearing, better quality and performance and a faster turnout. Last week, we already featured a great example highlighting that drilling bits can be 3D printed. There are also new features that are making the shift even more appealing. A greater range of materials gives much more freedom to the engineers when dealing with tougher leagues, guaranteeing more longevity and reliability. However, as of today, the choice between 3D printing and, say, casting needs to be pondered on a per case basis. 3D printing is still more expensive when considering a production run of multiple pieces. The two technologies can be used together to confront this and provide the upsides of both. For example, 3D printing sand casts for injection molding (coupled with computer simulations) has been proved to improve the performance of the process, decreasing warping and thus increasing production reliability. At the end of the day, the idea still applies that 3D printing is to be considered a tool in the box among others, although this tool sure is shoving its way to the front row.
Lightweight CoroMill® 390 produced with additive manufacturing
Long overhang milling can be a vibration-prone application. The lightweight CoroMill® 390 cutter, in combination with Silent Tools™ adaptors, is developed to overcome this challenge. When designing lightweight CoroMill® 390, material has been tactically removed to create the optimal cutter design for minimizing mass. This makes it more compact and significantly lighter than a conventional cutter.
Tooling Manufacturer Brown & Holmes Expands Material Options With 3D Printing
Tamworth-based tooling manufacturer Brown & Holmes has added two Stratasys 3D printers to its operations. The 3D printers were acquired to expand the material choices Brown & Holmes offers to its various customers, and to replace parts used in its production solutions and fixtures.
Mick Waller, Brown & Holmes Engineering Manager, said “Our customer base is looking at us now for newer and different materials beyond the conventional. There are over 17 materials we can print between the two Stratasys machines, which has meant that we can adopt the newer carbon fibre-type material to replace metal parts in our production solutions.”
Read more about it here.
3D Printing Studied as a Way to Produce Tooling for Injection Molding
In a thesis entitled “Tooling for Injection Molding Using Laser-Powder Bed Fusion,” a University of Louisville student named Mohith Ram Buxani takes a closer look at using 3D printing to create tooling for injection molding. The injection molding industry has always suffered from high costs and long lead times for tool making. 3D printing is an alternative method of creating tooling, saving time and money.
Read more about the research here.
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