Additive Manufacturing’s Manifold Benefits
29. November 2012
How would you make a weight-bearing manifold without machining?
How would you make a weight-bearing manifold without machining? This part illustrates a seemingly simple component reimagined to take advantage of additive manufacturing. Two channels in the top of this part both merge inside the part with the channel seen in the side facing to the right.
If this part was produced by machining, it would likely begin as a rectangular block. The channels would be added through drilling. This presents at least two drawbacks. First, the straight ducts and sharp intersection would likely produce inefficient fluid flow. Second, the solid block is likely to be heavier and use more material than necessary.
By contrast, additive manufacturing makes it easy to overcome both problems. The ducts through the part no longer have to be straight—they can be tailored for optimum flow. And the bulk of the part no longer has to be solid—it can be tailored to the forces that have to be sustained. The resulting form is far too complex for machining, but an additive process can be used to “grow” a form of this or any level of complexity.
Within Technologies provided the photograph of this part, which was produced additively using a machine from EOS. Within also provided the rendering showing a cutaway of the part’s design. Within makes software tools that simplify the creation of complex geometric structures according to the engineering requirements of a component. Another example of a part designed in Within and produced on a machine from EOS (in this case, at IMTS) can be seen here.