You might not think that a 3D printer and a sculptor have anything in common, but you’d be wrong. While 3D printing companies usually focus on the automated parts of their process, there can be a tremendous amount of labor and post-processing required to finish a part. This depends on the metal 3D printing process, of course, but the idea is generally the same--parts require a lot of finishing work after the print. While such things are usually straight-forward, the flexibility of AM and importance of post-processing adds another layer of complexity to the process.
It started way back in 1964 when Pete Townshend of The Who accidentally snapped the neck of his Rickenbacker during a performance. Upset about ruining his guitar, he smashed what remained of it into the stage, setting a precedent that many rockers would follow over the next decades.
Not long ago, 3D production printing was an idea best left to science fiction authors and speculators. It was often spoken of in the same breath as space travel and supersonic passenger planes. Though 3D printing ended the need for constant retooling, it was once thought too cumbersome and too expensive for mass manufacturing. As a result, it was relegated to one-offs like prototyping and small production runs. But thanks to advances in technology and higher levels of industry acceptance, additive manufacturing (AM) at scale is now less a matter of “someday” and more a matter of “right now.”
More and more companies are turning to 3D printing to give their businesses a "significant" competitive advantage. According to a survey published in the 2019 edition of "The State of 3D Printing," additive manufacturing has taken on a bigger role in their business strategies, and nearly half of those polled say it has given them a distinct competitive advantage. Another 55% indicate that 3D printing is one of their strengths, and because they have adopted the technology, they are staying ahead of the competition.
A study released in the 1995 September/October issue of Gear Technology examined the advantages of powder metallurgy for new and existing gear applications. “The Beginner’s Guide to Powder Metal Gears,” written by George Shturtz at Carbon City Products, Inc., explored why PM deserved serious consideration for gear design in areas like automotive, hand tools, outdoor power equipment and office machinery applications.
Register for Matt Sand's live webinar on Thursday, October 24th here: Pros & Cons of 3D Printing Metal Components
If you missed Lance’s webinar, you can access the recording here: High-Performance Metal 3D Printing; A Metallurgical Perspective
When people think of the benefits of 3D printing, they often think of complex geometries, quick iteration, and short lead times. But many are now realizing that 3D printing can be a huge cost saver when its done right.