3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing

COMMON USES / COMMON PROBLEMS SOLVED 

  • Producing prototypes / Proof of concept work 
  • Creating grabbers for cobots 
  • Replacing expensive, hard to source or long-lead-time parts 
  • Experiments 
  • Topography optimization 
  • Quick fixes 
  • Fixturing/tooling 

 3D PRINTING OR ADDITIVE COULD BE A GOOD FIT IF….  

  • You are overprocessing internal parts
  • You need to rapidly prototype
  • You want to be more efficient with R&D time
  • You have a part that is small or specialized

3D PRINTING OR ADDITIVE MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD FIT IF…  

  • Parts are large
  • Parts need to made of strong materials like metal
  • Very large part runs are needed like plastic injection molded PVC
  • You don’t have any 3D modeling experience
  • You need a finished part in a very short amount of time with customer constraints on things like surface finish and material

FAQ 

What are the restrictions on this technology?  

Size of parts – generally there is a size limitation on any one component being printed. However, assemblies of multiple components can be fastened together to form larger parts.

Will I need special equipment to operate this technology? If so, what equipment is required?  

Yes, the first step is 3D modeling software and experience running it. Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cost-effective and robust tool for 3D modeling of parts to be printed. To learn how to run 3D modeling software search online for short tutorials to get up and running and as you need new capabilities, look up those skills online. Next is access to a printer – fortunately many maker spaces, schools, and printing bureaus have acquired different kinds of 3D printers to be able to make these parts. Those institutions will also likely have someone around that can help you print on the machines.

Do I need any special training or certification to operate this technology? If so, what?  

There are some certification programs however those are unnecessary to get started.

THE FACTORY OF TOMORROW EXPERIENCE

  • Cutting tool, collet, and drill bit holders are 3D printed (black plastic). Some were printed with a MakerBot.

The Factory of Tomorrow demonstrates real-world applications in a low volume, high mix environment. Made possible by our partnerships with national, regional, state, and local organizations, The Factory of Tomorrow is here to offer new opportunities for the real-world application of advanced manufacturing technologies.

Integrated technologies demonstrate that Smart Factories and Industry 4.0 advanced technologies are within reach for small and mid-sized manufacturers. Learn more and visit the lab >