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Materials & Assembly

Ford Builds Metal Prototypes With 3D Printing

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naperlou
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3D everywhere
naperlou   1/8/2013 10:05:56 AM
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Chuck, there seems to be an explosion of 3D for prototyping.  I would think that low prodcution rate parts could be made with 3D printing as well.  Of course, for high volume production, injection molding is much faster.  And once the mold is made, it is relatively cheap. 

One thing, though.  You mention parts such as brake disks.  Are these usable as real brakes, or are they just used to test fit and manufacturability.

Elizabeth M
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3D printing is an exciting space
Elizabeth M   1/8/2013 11:38:18 AM
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Some of the most impressive gains are being made in 3D printing. I think this is the space to watch this year. This way of prototyping could revolutionize the auto industry and allow manufacturers to bang things out much more efficiently and cost effectively. Will be interesting to see how this evolves and is adopted by other automakers.

mrdon
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Re: 3D printing is an exciting space
mrdon   1/8/2013 12:18:52 PM
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Elizabeth M, I agree. This year will be exciting to see all of the innovative products being created using 3D printers. Every Thursday, Adafruit posts blogs regarding the state of 3D printing. Here's the link.https://www.adafruit.com/blog/?s=3D+printing

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D everywhere
Ann R. Thryft   1/8/2013 12:24:06 PM
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Chuck, this is great news, although I'm not familiar with the term "surrogate" in 3D printing/AM. I have basically the same question as Lou: are the parts for form and fit only, or are they also functional? And another question: if some of them arfe functional, is this for prototyping or low-end production volumes? Including SLA says prototypes, but LS could be used for production parts.

apresher
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3D Printing Limitations
apresher   1/8/2013 2:27:12 PM
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Chuck, Excellent.  But I think what many of us are interested in is your take on the limitations of the technology ...  in terms of what it can and can't deliver.  Thanks.

Charles Murray
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Re: 3D everywhere
Charles Murray   1/8/2013 3:08:23 PM
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These parts are truly functional, so they can be used in prototype testing applications. The main reason they don't make it to production is that these techniques wouldn't be practical for huge volumes. In production, automakers can build hundreds of parts per hour. So while it may take weeks to build the production tooling, they get that time back when the tooling is completed and they move to large-scale production. In contrast, the methods mentioned in this article can take hours per part, so while that works for small lots, it doesn't work for volumes in the tens of thousands. In that sense, building a car is a lot different than building a 787. Automotive production volumes are just too big for this technology.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D printing is an exciting space
Ann R. Thryft   1/8/2013 3:49:24 PM
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mrdon, thanks for that link. In commenting on an earlier post last year, I expressed the idea that 3D printing could be used for scanning and reproducing museum replicas of various art objects, such as sculptures. Looks like that's being done by more than one artist. Good to see my wish come true.

NadineJ
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Re: 3D everywhere
NadineJ   1/8/2013 5:08:07 PM
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Is it an explosion or just more mainstream awareness?  With so many stories on NPR, BBC and even morning news shows, you'd think 3D printing was the answer to all of the world's problems. 

According to yahoo news, a 3D printer can build a house in 20hrs.  It's all a little overblown right now.  Once the initial "wow" factor wears off, I think we'll see actual, long-lasting applications.

NadineJ
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Re: 3D everywhere
NadineJ   1/8/2013 5:09:43 PM
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Very true, Charles.  For now, this technology isn't practical for automotive mass production but can be great for antique restoration.

Charles Murray
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Re: 3D everywhere
Charles Murray   1/8/2013 7:07:19 PM
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The brake parts were fully functional, Naperlou, not just for fit and finish but for operation, as well.

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