Direct Metal Printing Rapidly Delivers Innovative Faucet
A faucet that would be difficult to manufacture conventionally was developed and produced within weeks using Direct Metal Printing (DMP).
To produce this faucet, designers turned to 3rd Dimension, a manufacturer located in Indianapolis, Indiana, that offers metal 3D printing as well as machining, milling and finishing. 3rd Dimension designed support structures to strengthen the design during printing, and manufactured the Grid faucets using a ProX 320 Direct Metal Printing (DMP) system from 3D Systems. DMP is
The parts were removed from the build plate with EDM, then heat-treated to reduce stresses. Machining added threads for the mating connectors and aerator. After a tumble deburring
3D printing these parts not only enabled a difficult-to-manufacture design, but also sped the development of the product. The faucets were printed within hours, and fully finished within a couple of weeks. See the process in the video below:
Spirit AeroSystems recently began installing the Boeing 787’s first titanium structural component to be made through AM. The part is not critical but also not minor. I spoke with manufacturing leaders at Spirit about the meaning of the part and the way forward for additive in aircraft structures.
GE Additive’s Ehteshami says, “To make these parts the ordinary way, you typically need 10 to 15 suppliers, you have tolerances, you have nuts, bolts, welds and braces.” With additive, “all of that went away.” The helicopter project is a detail in a story worth knowing.
New potential for mold tooling applications is reached with custom-designed materials for additive manufacturing.