The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, which is why it is also called additive manufacturing, unlike conventional machining, casting and forging processes, where material is removed from a stock item (subtractive manufacturing) or poured into a mold and shaped by means of dies, presses and hammers
The term “3D printing” covers a variety of processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object,with material being added together (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer.
Material used can be summarized in three major categories:
Furthermore can be analyzed below:
Functional prototypes have specific requirements—including high stiffness, high strength, and heat resistance—demanding metal which can clearly stand up to repeated use over time as opposed to plastic parts. Complex shapes and geometries, dramatically reduce prototyping lead time. However, metal 3D printing can now eliminate these difficult manufacturing methods, meet all the minimum industry specifications and allow for assembly consolidation by producing functional prototypes quickly, using the same metal material required for the final part in order to aid design optimization.
Metal manufacturing is essential to the production of many industrial products for high-impact applications in the manufacturing, military, aerospace and automotive industry. Tool-making can be tedious due to complex geometries and part requirements, resulting in processes that are expensive and time consuming. However, metal 3D printing can now provide the ability to print aftermarket parts quickly, less expensively and on-demand. Shaving, grinding, honing, lapping, Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO) parts can be great candidates for 3D printing. Therefore, companies can now reduce downtime for customers in need of replacement parts.
Jigs & fixtures:
Jigs and fixtures are definitely necessary to lean manufacturing, but they’re usually de-prioritized when compared to other production needs. Metal 3D printing allows engineers to produce jigs and fixtures, regarding parts and wear items for repeated use, quickly using a design optimized for the specific need. Additionally, if any part needs further customizations, it is more than easy to go back, interfere to the design and make any essential iterations. The cost savings and lead time savings over traditional manufacturing methods are very high and the ability to produce replacement parts on-demand is critical to operational efficiency.
Mold production is nowadays a wide industry which associates with the majority of industries around the world. Just a reminder that manufacturing, military, aerospace, automotive and every day consumer goods are some examples of industries which use molds in their processes. During the injection molding process, cooling can account for up to 95% of the cycle time. Using internal conformal cooling channel results in an increase in part quality and a reduction of cycle time allowing up to 40% more throughput. The high temperatures and pressures of injection molding make metal mold inserts a necessity and 3D printing the inserts shortens production run lead time and costs.
You never thought about it, but just imagine using metal 3D printing for making anything you may need of dream regarding jewelry, home and general decoration, architectural models, gaming figures or even advertising!