It is a process to convert the virtual product to physical object to check different parameters such as dimensional accuracy, geometrical entities, concept visualization, functional testing, fits etc.
Sand Casting Patterns
The conventional way to make patterns for sand casting has been overcome by 3D printing because of the benefits as below:
- Time period for making a pattern
- Accuracy in terms of dimensional as well as geometrical
- Error free (The 3D CAD model is input)
- Less Machining reducing overall post process
Investment Casting Patterns
Investment Casting also known as “Lost Wax” casting would give a large acceptance to 3D Printing as the traditional method for patterns have some lacking aspects.
3D Printing helps to build a “Pattern” without any die as required in Investment casting Process.
How It Works:
(a) 3D CAD Model of a product to be shared along with the critical
Parameters to be considered.
(b) The 3D CAD model is modified or repaired according to the
Input parameters required for 3D Printing.
(c) The CAD Model is converted to .STL (Stereo lithography) file format after completion of necessary corrections.
(d) The Part is 3D Printed with suitable material.
(e) Post processing is done on the 3D Printed Part.
(f) The part is dispatched to client facility.
(g) Material gets fumigated or dewaxed in shell baking chamber.
(h) The cavity is produced and ready for next process as in conventional Method.
- Low Volume Batch:-The product which is having a low volume Batch of approximately 5 to 100 no’s, The Die making for such a low Volume would be costly as compared to 3D Printed parts for each.
- Product Development:- A new product needs to be developed by company, One needs a sure shot and economic solution in terms of development cost. 3D Printing gives exactly the same to the company providing a master pattern without any errors(as in case of traditional die making – not feasible).
- Promising Product:-A product which seems critical to process and time consuming to develop, Here comes 3D Printing which gives accurate idea with physical prototype in hand to evaluate without wasting much of time.
- Die Development / Repairing:– Most of the time, Development of die itself is a big challenge for most of the companies considering the risk of scraping a die if failed. 3D Printing removes all those headaches.
Jigs & Fixtures
- Tools are always the base in manufacturing while certain products such as jigs, fixtures, templates, and gauges can significantly improve the process while lowering the production time and labor costs. But many companies couldn’t afford custom-making their own tooling until 3D printing became more widespread.
- Jigs & Fixtures are used to hold, position, protect and organize at all stages in a production and assembly unit as they help in machining.
- Jigs & Fixtures are used sometimes to perform quality test as well as for R&D for experimentation which is now really easy to manufacture with the help of 3D Printing at economic cost saving a lot of time.
Die - Mold
- Injection Molding:Automating the injection molding process for a high production volumeis viable in current scenario because the tooling, Dies and other supporting equipment together makes the initial set-up cost on a large scale.
For Low volume injection Molding, It comes under 10 to 100 parts production, accordingly such a low batch was not financially feasible due to the initial high cost of the tooling and dies.
For a low volume batch, Wear resistance is no longer the concern as a critical factor.With a high accuracy and excellent surface finish by 3D printing along with the High temp. Resistance, low run injection molding dies is viable as best.
3D Printing Offers:
- Turnaround time is fast
- Flexibility in probable Design
- Verification of the mold Design
- Best for Low run production batch
- Small parts development is easy
- Reduced Financial Risk
- Mold Inserts: The designed 3D printed mold is inserted to aluminum dies to withstand the pressure and temperature during injection. New materials are available that can resist the temperature as well as wear because of high stiffness.
- Standalone Mold: The cooling channels can be integrated in 3D printingalong with the mold. It costs more than the Inserts as the part required to be rigid with enough strength and also increases the time.
Form: The shape, Size, Dimension or other visual parameters that defines the specific product. 3D Printing or rapid prototyping makes it handy to get the “Form” of any product.
Fit: Being able to interface or interconnect with other part or to be an integral part of an assembly (Snap Fits). For checking and inspection of the fits for various assemblies and sub-assemblies, 3D Printing accelerates the process by making the parts very quickly and in a desired quantity.
Function: The Designed product needs to perform certain action or motion to inspect the final outcome. 3D Printing bridges the gap from a virtual simulation of 3D models or assembly to actual functioning by prototyping.