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ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING/ 3D PRINTING FEATURE


aerospace and motorsports industries, where weight equates to higher fuel consumption and reduced speed. Metals used in AM range from steels, such as stainless and high strength alloys, to aluminium, titanium, gold, silver and platinum. However, be aware of surroundings as metal powders can be explosive and many direct AM machines operate in an inert gas environment. Unlike self-supporting plastic SLS, direct


metal AM involves support structures and a lot of pre- and post-printing handling. Object shape, size and orientation are vital in generating a successful print. Metal is heavy, so the placement in the build and the support of objects must be considered. After the print, the object will be attached to a solid build plate/platform and this and any support structures must be cut away. Objects are often shot-blasted and tumbled with abrasives. In many cases the final object will also be machined to obtain the precise dimensions and surface condition required by the end-user.


THINKING ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES The advantages of AM – such as rapid prototyping, manufacture of custom objects, and even on-site production – are multiplied when the ability to print in metals is added. However, questions remain to be answered before AM can properly be accepted as a manufacturing tool, especially for critical components. Metal AM is certainly becoming a major addition to the manufacturer’s arsenal, but polymer 3D printing is still ahead of the game.


3M BIC www.3mbic.com


IMPROVING ENGINE PERFORMANCE


A 3D model of a valve system to boost engine operation and cut carbon dioxide output has allowed an automotive company to showcase its pioneering technology to the world. Camcon Automotive’s core solenoid technology has seen the creation of the iVT (intelligent Valve Technology) system, allowing fully electronic control of valve events and realising the potential for improved engine operation and reduced CO2


output. The company worked alongside Furnace Design


to come up with the component before turning to Ogle Models to produce a scale replica. Matt White, senior prototype engineer at Ogle,


said: “To effectively 3D print the part, the CAD needed to be broken down and each component printed separately. Our skilled and experienced model makers worked hard to ensure the parts all fit seamlessly together. “The main cylinder head was produced using


SLS which not only allows for complex geometry but is self-supporting with high tensile strength. The accuracy achieved was ±0.12mm per 100mm.”


Ogle Models www.oglemodels.com


GET PRODUCTS TO MARKET FASTER WITH 3D PRINTING


As a manufacturer of aftermarket performance cooling products such as radiators, racing thermostats and intercoolers for daily drivers, track cars, trucks and bikes, Mishimoto Automotive makes around 150 new products a year, all meant to replace stock vehicle parts with better, higher performing, products. Always pushing to make its process faster and more efficient, the company therefore recently invested in


a MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer, with a build volume of 11.8” x 12” x 18” and a sturdy build plate. The MakerBot PLA Filament for the Z18 costs just pennies per gram. The ability to iterate on a cost-effective 3D printer means Mishimoto engineers can prototype quickly and


more freely, almost like they are sketching. The printer allows the company to 3D print larger parts in a single piece, and regular use saves time because engineers can work on other projects while the 3D printer makes a model. More time allows for quicker iteration of multiple versions, for a more refined design. The Z18 parts can be made to scale and fit to the vehicle before going straight to manufacturing. By cutting development time significantly, the company can get


products to market six to eight weeks ahead of the competition. Given that 30% of Mishimoto’s product prototypes involves 3D


printing, the speed-to-market advantage adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional sales each year.


MakerBot www.makerbot.com


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