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Materials & Assembly

Ford Builds Metal Prototypes With 3D Printing

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wlawson
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Iron
actual aerospace parts being built with additive manufacturing
wlawson   1/9/2013 10:29:53 AM
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There are actual parts being made for the Air bus and the F35.  for the Air bus TI brackets are being built that weigh about 65% of a machined TI bracket  becaus you put the metal just where it needs to be and as these are low volume parts it save a tremendous amout of cost for stocking, and manufacturing spares. 

The F35 has a very complex airduct/control valve being made tht is reducing the paper required compared for tracking the process QC, etc to a fabricated part from 1-1/2 inches thick to one page basiclly

for a good seminar on this there is a seminar on Laser additive manufacturing in a few weeks put on by the Laser Institute of America that has the latest info available in the world.

robatnorcross
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Gold
Re: 3D everywhere
robatnorcross   1/9/2013 2:31:17 PM
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Hi Charles. Is it just me or am I the only one that finds that Ford using a plywood constructed 3d printer a bit strange?

eafpres
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Gold
3D model making isn't 3D metal printing
eafpres   1/9/2013 3:13:34 PM
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The article mixes some good information and news of Ford's investment/commitment along with similar hype to other articles over the last year or two.

It is unclear from the way things are stated, but it sounds like they are making 3D models, using them to make sand molds, then making 1 part per mold.  That is somewhat novel, but far away from printing functional metal parts in 3D.

We used a similar process over a decade ago to make SLAs then use them to make silicone molds where plastic parts, which were functional enough for disk drive covers, bezels, etc., were cast.  It is a smart innovation to take that process into making molds for sand casting.

There are limitations, of course; many parts in cars are made from cast metal, but many are not.

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: 3D everywhere
Cabe Atwell   1/9/2013 3:28:00 PM
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Printers and print-materials are getting cheaper. To the point where I am ready to drop the cash one a setup at a moment's notice. I am waiting for that moment, where it becomes a no-brainer on what to get. So far, all the options are not exactly blowing my hair back.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: 3D everywhere
Ann R. Thryft   1/9/2013 4:49:47 PM
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It's true that media coverage of 3D printing has exploded--but so has the industry, along with real-world applications. It may be so hard to believe because it sounds so much like sci-fi. But Contour Crafting's house-building technology is not smoke. NASA is investigating it, and other similar technologies, for use on the Moon:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=250614
Meanwhile, several other 3D printing and related technologies are being developed for making buildings--not prototypes, not molds--some of them quite large:
http://www.ubmfuturecities.com/author.asp?section_id=262&doc_id=523906

Shadetree Engineer
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Gold
Odd choice of photo
Shadetree Engineer   1/10/2013 5:32:54 AM
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I understand the printer shown is just what's used to share plastic prototypes, but without first showing us some of that laser sintering machinery, it's a bit disconcerting at first!  I'm just wondering when the term 'rapid prototyping' becomes an outdated expression, where 'rapid manufacturing' is the new buzz and we can all talk about the merits of 'instant prototyping'!  By the way, I don't recall the name, but I did see a company specilaizing in 3D printing plastic cores to be used for sand casting. The plastic was designed to burn out just like a 'lost wax' technique, and was intended for applications including engine blocks.

Shadetree Engineer
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Gold
Re: 3D model making isn't 3D metal printing
Shadetree Engineer   1/10/2013 5:39:33 AM
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Well, the article could've gone into a bit more detail, but I think 'selective laser sintering' was mentioned?  I've seen a process like that years back where a metal powder is sintered into a 3D shape using a high-powered laser. Then the 3D part is cleaned of loose powder, cured in an oven and then dipped into molten bronze. Capillary action draws the bronze throughout the entire part. The finished piece is then just as strong as traditional cast bronze. Ever since, I've thought about making boat propellors this way.

CLMcDade
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Re: 3D model making isn't 3D metal printing
CLMcDade   1/10/2013 10:56:41 AM
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Based on the text of the article, it seems like the headline could be considered a little misleading and that might explain some of the disparate directions of the discussion. 

The article describes a conventional casting process for the metal prototype parts arrived at more quickly by using a rapid prototype created model to form the sand around.

The headline on the other hand, infers the direct creation of a metal part by the rapid prototyping machine.  This would be a pretty incredible accomplishment, improving on the multi-step process currently used, nicely described by Shadetree.

Regardless, it was a great article from a product design standpoint.  We were taught to model our concepts during the brainstorming, development and finalization stages.  This serves multiple purposes, the two most important being 1) overlooked elements, like interference, fit, ergonomic factors show up when you have a 3D part to manipulate and assemble; and 2) the process of creating it in 3D and then studying it in 3D can inspire new directions or improvements.

While 3D CAD systems like Creo and Solidworks have improved the "on paper" phase of design, 3-D prototypes still can't be beat.  As rapid prototyping methods explode and evolve, the technology will only help the design process steps described above. 

And it will certainly eliminate a lot of X-acto blade cuts and burned fingers from hot melt glue while making foam core or blue foam models.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
3D metal direct manufacturing does exist
Ann R. Thryft   1/10/2013 11:45:14 AM
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What are called "direct manufactured" metal parts, not just molds for casting, ARE being built by 3D printing methods, primarily SLS (selective laser sintering). The machines that do this are in a very different class from the machines that make prototypes or use plastic as a material. Concept Laser, mentioned in this article
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=256731&dfpPParams=ind_183,industry_auto,bid_27,aid_256731&dfpLayout=blog
makes machines (not the one featured in that article) that make both molds and parts.
NASA is making rocket engine parts, not molds:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=254513
ExOne makes both sand casting molds and near-net metal parts with their machines:
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=252293
And 3D printing has been used to directly manufacture titanium parts for medical applications including implants.



fredt
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Iron
3d printing
fredt   1/10/2013 1:13:00 PM
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I am very enthusiastic about the new technology and the lower costs associated with the application.  It has great appeal to the small business with little time and resources to devote to prototyping.  As with all new technologies, it does open new opportunities for the unscrupulous to copy legitimate products such as car parts, aircraft parts, guns and other items that are copyrighted or controlled.  I wonder when the time will come that all of  small machine shops will have regular visits from all the alphabet soup agencies.  Oh well, progress is the game.

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