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Guest vittos

3d Printing, The Next Revolution?

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Guest under-dog
It could have been a metal 3D printer but i don't think they are developed yet are they? maybe someone can help me out here.

Of course they are.

 

 

 

I saw one online that I believe deposited powdered metal. Which was then fused in a kiln and somehow bronze was draw into the porous areas to solidify it.

 

there was some artist using it to create small table top sculptures.

 

Not saying there arent a slew of other uses but this happened to be the article I had seen.

 

 

There are other machines that will print into wax or some other materials that can be burnt out for lost wax.....

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Guest csven
I saw one online that I believe deposited powdered metal. Which was then fused in a kiln and somehow bronze was draw into the porous areas to solidify it.

 

there was some artist using it to create small table top sculptures.

 

Not saying there arent a slew of other uses but this happened to be the article I had seen.

You're probably thinking of Bathsheba Grossman. We corresponded a few years ago. Nice woman.

 

Metal sintering is okay, but it still requires the post process you mention: either straight fusion of the metal particulate (similar to metal injection molding; something I researched for a magnesium laptop back in '95) or the filling of the porous sections through capillary action (e.g. using bronze).

 

The more interesting methods are Electron Beam Melting and Laser Melting. Both of these eliminate the post process since there is no binder and hence no porosity. More interesting is that the molecular structure is reportedly much better. Not quite as good as cast metal, but not too much worse. As a result, these processes are being using for extremely demanding parts such as jet engine turbine blades. Very few products demand that kind of precision, heat tolerance and durability.

 

However, when I contacted the satellite office for a German firm bringing their laser melting systems to North America a year or so ago, they still didn't have one shipped. And prices were very high (of course). So it'll be a while before these two methods reach average designers.

 

Another thing: the finish appears to be... granular. So the parts aren't comparable to, say, an SLA or Objet model. They still require some finish work. As do the metal sintered parts. But the metal sintered process is more mature and costs less (which is, from my exchange w Ms. Grossman, apparently the reason she hadn't by that time bothered to try a "melted" process).

 

-

 

btw, while I don't go into this level of detail in my current blog series on "Next Gen Development Tools", I do include lots of related YouTube videos and discuss things like the relatively unknown "next gen manufacturing" initiative.

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Guest owens_2k

I dont like the powder machines, models are weak and can easily break - even after the bond suff is added afterwards. I use an ABS machine, you can't get multiple colours and it creates support material but its strong and can work to about 0.5mm.

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Guest csven
I dont like the powder machines, models are weak and can easily break - even after the bond suff is added afterwards. I use an ABS machine, you can't get multiple colours and it creates support material but its strong and can work to about 0.5mm.

 

Which SLS machines and materials in particular were causing the problem? And with which process were you using ABS?

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Guest antidesign

I did my work placement in the Rapid manufacturing/prototyping department of TNO in Holland. They have a load of different processes and develop technology and software including the first colour SLS machine called ‘Ghost’ I think.

 

I dont like the powder machines, models are weak and can easily break - even after the bond suff is added afterwards. I use an ABS machine, you can't get multiple colours and it creates support material but its strong and can work to about 0.5mm.

 

My experience is that the powder process material is too @#$@#$ hard and very difficult to post process. SLS material is incredibly durable and has enough flexibility that it can be bent fully back and forth until it will finally snaps.

 

The modern methods I’ve seen break are FDM (with ABS) when the section is quite small and has a corner (maybe it was an old machine), and of course SL which has a great finish but is quite brittle in comparison to SLS.

 

With regard to layers we used to use a strong solvent for ABS parts to melt and fuse the outer surface together both for strength and to get something like a smooth finish.

 

I did several projects around the subject of how PR/RM could be used for future product markets. One project I remember was a small study about how software could correct the inaccuracies in FDM forms caused by cooling.

 

Going back to the original post – why did you make it, hasn’t RP been around for a long time? What is special about the video example? My industry experience has shown me that companies have already gone over to RP both to check assemblies and instead of model making.

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Guest michaelAtSPG

To chime in with antidesign here, I'm always a bit surprised when I hear people talk about RP like it's new. It's been around for quite a long time: high quality machines using SLA for more than 20 years, high quality FDM for more than 15 years.

 

As for the term "3d printer", that too has been around for ages, and is used more to denote a ease-of-use than a particular technology. i.e. you just send the part off to the 3d printer as you would send a text file to a text printer.

 

Just like any other kind of manufacturing process, you have material choices that affect the durability of the result. It's hard to justify complaints of durability if you're making a tiny scale part with thin walls in SLA. Generally, parts in ABS (from an FDM machine) are 80%+ as durable as parts that are milled from an ABS block. And similarly, if you use a zcorp-style machine (powdered layers like SLA but fused with binder) it's inexpensive but you can't really complain about not getting a high surface finish (dip it in a molten wax and you'll get that, plus the ability to rework it). Want durability? RP it in stainless or titanium, not ink-jet glue onto plaster!

 

When you're choosing an RP process don't forget to put on your i.d. hat, just as you would when choosing a material for a production part.

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Guest csven

I'd disagree with the implication that "3D printer" has been around forever, as if it was commonly used. It wasn't. I recall a time when no one I knew used that term until after ZCorp came on the scene. It was "growing an SLA" or "we're sending out for an FDM". But that's neither here nor there. The point I was making still holds: at this level of conversation it benefits everyone to be specific in order to avoid confusion. Specific about process, about material, and even the make/model of the machine. Without that general level of information blanket statements regarding quality are effectively worthless.

 

That said, the reason I'm posting is that a rep from MCP just contacted me and answered a question I'd called two years ago to ask (better late than never, eh?). The question was in regards to the finish level of their laser melted metal parts. He claimed that after bead blast some parts required very little finishing; specifically titanium. I asked how their stainless came out, and he said they were similar in quality. Where he said they were having problems was with the aluminums. We'll see.

 

Beyond that, based on our conversation, it appears MCP is finally gearing up. Two years ago they told me that they didn't yet have a single metal laser melting machine in North America; now they do. They'll also be at RAPID in Orlando, for those attending. I won't be there, but am scheduling a meeting with another rep to review some parts... probably sometime in Summer. I'll pass on whatever I learn at that time.

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Question: how big individual parts can you RP these days? I heard "by the water cooler" that a certain German automotive company in Stuttgart does dashboards in one go, but it would be nice to see some hard numbers from a reliable source.

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Guest michaelAtSPG
I'd disagree with the implication that "3D printer" has been around forever, as if it was commonly used. It wasn't. I recall a time when no one I knew used that term until after ZCorp came on the scene. It was "growing an SLA" or "we're sending out for an FDM". But that's neither here nor there. The point I was making still holds: at this level of conversation it benefits everyone to be specific in order to avoid confusion. Specific about process, about material, and even the make/model of the machine. Without that general level of information blanket statements regarding quality are effectively worthless.

 

OK, well we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I first saw the term "3d printer" in 1987, though it was hardly in the common conversation. In the early 90's it was a standard term in the sales talk of Stratasys (we had one of their first FDM 1600s). The FDMs in the early 90's were being pushed as in-office machines because they didn't use the relatively hazardous materials of the SLA machines, hence the friendly "3d printer" term. Again, we're not here to talk history, but the term "3d fax" was also seeing considerable use in the early 90s in research papers (this for the idea of 3d scanning a part then sending it to a remote 3d printer, all automatically).

 

So I can't tell if you are saying that one should only refer to some brands of machine as "3d printers"? It's true that zcorp uses ink-jet print head technology in their printers, but believe me if they had any claim at all to the term "3d printer" they would certainly have exercised their rights.

 

But if you are saying we should be precise about the RP method and material, I'm 100% with you. I think that was the main focus of my post above: it just makes no sense to say "My RP isn't good!" without including process & material (at least).

 

On the other topic: another brand to check out in the "exotic" metal RP is Arcam (www.arcam.com). Similar process, SLM/EBM. Aluminum is going to be tough for everyone (if you weld you know how much more difficult AL is than most every other common metal due to its properties). & it's highly reflective, so it's hard to get the energy into it via laser. I hesitate to call these machines "RP", as it's a very rare application that requires the *prototype* to be made in, say titanium. More likely these machines will make 1-off parts for very special applications. Obviously, even if your production part is going to be Ti you probably don't need a Ti prototype to examine the form. Still, it'd be nice I guess.

 

An artist friend & I are putting together a singlepage with some analysis of the same high-detail RP job done on 7 different machines, I'll post it here when I'm done. It might be useful to someone who wants to weight the resolution vs. $ tradeoffs.

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Guest michaelAtSPG
Question: how big individual parts can you RP these days? I heard "by the water cooler" that a certain German automotive company in Stuttgart does dashboards in one go, but it would be nice to see some hard numbers from a reliable source.

 

The larger FDM machines can make single parts about 1m x 1m x .6m. The SLA machines are usually much smaller. I think Zcorp has a big one as well, not sure of the size.

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Guest csven
But if you are saying we should be precise about the RP method and material, I'm 100% with you.
My much earlier comment:

 

"not everyone considers the Objet technology to be "3D printing", in the strict sense of the definition (aka: 3DPTM). As a consequence, comments such as "3d-printed model is always fragile" are confusing and potentially misleading."

 

and my previous comment

 

"The point I was making still holds: at this level of conversation it benefits everyone to be specific in order to avoid confusion."

 

I'm unsure why you're unsure what my point is, consequently I can only apologize for being unable to be more clear. Let's just say we're in agreement on the important part.

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Guest csven
Question: how big individual parts can you RP these days? I heard "by the water cooler" that a certain German automotive company in Stuttgart does dashboards in one go, but it would be nice to see some hard numbers from a reliable source.
Might also check out the Materialize site. I seem to recall their having built their own custom, large-sized machines. I want to say they were SLA, but that doesn't sound right to me.

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Guest michaelAtSPG
Check out www.desktopfactory.com and you will get an idea on how far this industry has come. USD$5K is all you need.

Hm, possible vaporware alert: they keep talking about tis features in the future

tense, like "it will have a size of...". It's working envelope is 5x5x5.

 

And actually in production, from 3dsystems, for $9k (w/ a 9x6x8" envelope):

 

http://www.modelin3d.com/

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Guest csven

A guy online was getting some test pieces from the DesktopFactory machine and blogging about his tests (he posted comments on CGTalk).

 

My understanding of the delay is that by their own admission the DesktopFactory people didn't design for the consumer. i.e. it wasn't sufficiently robust. So they've been retooling.

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