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.
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.
After 20 years of iteration on the same basic additive-manufacturing technologies for metal, a new wave of innovation is emerging. Lower-cost, safer processes are replacing the old ways of doing things, offering vastly different material properties through resolution, surface quality and design freedom.
A Los Angeles-based company is working a new 3D metal printing process that could prove popular.
3DEO is a new startup that has developed their own patent-pending 3D metal printing process. Like many 3D metal printing processes, 3DEO starts with metal powder.
Full Metal Printing
3DEO’s breakthrough metal 3D printing system could finally dig the industry out of the low-volume, high-cost trap.
Travis Hessman | Jun 16, 2017
Craig Paullin has a problem.
“About 20% of the inquiries I receive are either for prototype work or for low volume orders,” he says.
As the owner and CEO of PSM Industries—a metal fabrication company out of LA specializing in metal injection molding (MIM), sintered metal, and powdered metal technologies—these requests are troubling.
There are hundreds of methods to make metal parts. The list of technologies and techniques can be overwhelming. To make matters worse, each approach technology comes with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this article is to give a quick overview of the predominant metal part fabrication techniques and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
"3DEO are, like Desktop Metal and Xact aiming to make metal 3D printing more affordable. Like Desktop Metal and Markforged, they are using MIM powders and a secondary sintering step to achieve that. However, the big difference comes in their process, 3DEO describes six steps to achieving a finished metal part that is more affordable and meets the high industry benchmark MPIF Standard 35 while still achieving tight tolerances."
Industry 4.0. The fourth industrial revolution.
Experts seem clear that a significant step forward is happening in factories around the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made its way onto the plant floor and now entire factories are becoming "smart" with an explosion of sensors and internet connected equipment. Mountains of data are beginning to flow seamlessly from machine-to-machine and from machine-to-man. As the cyber universe grows within factories, a logical addition is the ability to pull an object from the virtual world of data and create its physical counterpart on demand. Manufacturing new parts by changing a file rather than creating a costly and time-intensive mold is what makes 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, so interesting in production. Additive manufacturing has firmly planted its flag in Industry 4.0 and continues its rapid pace of development as emerging additive manufacturing technologies are finding applications across the ever-changing industrial manufacturing landscape.
Excitement swirls around additive manufacturing as top industrial companies continue to pour significant dollars into R&D and other additive manufacturing initiatives. The investments in additive manufacturing are aimed at understanding the full capabilities of the technology and integrating additive manufacturing into their own product development and production processes.