Video: In Conventional Manufacturing, 3D Printing Is a Solution for Tooling
On a visit to a CNC machine shop, Precision Tool Technologies of Brainerd, Minnesota, I had a chance to note how 3D printing is being used as an aid to conventional manufacturing. The Stratasys Fortus 3D printer at Precision Tool is used to simplify the creation and modification of various tools used internally, including this welding fixture.
I'm Pete Zelinski with AdditiveManufacturing.media and I’m at Precision Tool Technologies of Brainerd, Minnesota.
3D printing is a solution for tooling. [There are] lots of reasons for that: it's easy; the tool is done at the end of a print cycle; nothing more needs to be done necessarily.
This is a tool for a welding fixture used to make this, which is a device used in making eyeglass lenses. These springs are welded in using this fixture. In the past the fixture was machined. Also not that difficult, but here's the thing: the fixture, this part actually, is subject to change. That means the fixture has to change, and in the past, every time that happened it was a new machining project and more time at the machine tool.
3D printing makes tooling flexible, changeable, discardable. When the design of the product changes, just print a new tool.
Tools for injection molding, die casting and powder compaction all illustrate the potential to achieve greater part performance and manufacturing efficiency by blending workpiece materials through AM.
The pneumatic gripper 3D-printed as a complete working unit has demonstrated its effectiveness for continuous operation over time. It is one illustration of the role additive is liable to play in making robotic automation easier.
3D printing and robots enable one another. We miss the possibilities of one if we do not consider the other. The combination includes AM for end effectors, robots for 3D printing parts, and different modes of metal and plastic production.