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.”
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.