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3D metal printing

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It does exist and could be the way things are manufactured in the future, in factories or your home. DISCUSS!

Edited by dirt1080

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Golf industry is all over it and actually in the mist of undergoing extensive testing with this new technology. The turn around time vs machining time is no match for pro type work. We've had parts come thru the shop, you wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at it that it was metal printed.

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The space shuttles have 3d metal printers to make replacement/wear parts. Currently titanium is the cheapest and best metal for 3d printing

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its exciting but how many jobs will be lost in the end? said in the video no more need for welders and brazing. i think its way cool but it always seems like these things just raise costs and cut jobs, sorry for the negative twist.  i can see 2 stroke dirt bike cylinders being made of titanium with perfect flow and combustion characteristics  :jawdrop:

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its exciting but how many jobs will be lost in the end? said in the video no more need for welders and brazing. i think its way cool but it always seems like these things just raise costs and cut jobs, sorry for the negative twist. i can see 2 stroke dirt bike cylinders being made of titanium with perfect flow and combustion characteristics :jawdrop:

true these devolopment in technology do make some jobs just plain moot but the very same technology creates jobs itself in the manufacture of the printers them selves aswell as mining, 3D design, operation of the machines and proccessing the metal into the materials needed for the printers I.E the powdered metal. So we would lose some metal craft jobs many other jobs would be created possibly spawning a whole new industry. You have to look at both sides of the coin. Edited by dirt1080
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Still, I would trade this stuff for a Jet Pack anyday.....

hmmm dirtbike.... 3D printer...jet pack. I like where this going :D
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its exciting but how many jobs will be lost in the end? said in the video no more need for welders and brazing. i think its way cool but it always seems like these things just raise costs and cut jobs, sorry for the negative twist.  i can see 2 stroke dirt bike cylinders being made of titanium with perfect flow and combustion characteristics  :jawdrop:

I think they were talking about those production line welding jobs, not one-off jobs like repairs, or modifications, or very large fabrications, etc. A lot of production line welding is already done by robots and the rest in Korea, China, etc so I don't think it would make many jobs in the US obsolete.

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Still, I would trade this stuff for a Jet Pack anyday.....

 

Get a printer and make your own jet pack!

 

 

For one, I'd print a whole frame and swingarm for my 50 out of titanium. Super trick.

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Get a printer and make your own jet pack!

For one, I'd print a whole frame and swingarm for my 50 out of titanium. Super trick.

If the frame had a cradle and the swing arm was extended id buy both!!

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The rapid prototyping of metal parts is the highest end in the world of 3d printing. Absolutely amazing! And very expensive part cost. These machines are in the million dollar range. So don't get your hopes up to have your own metal MLS printer in your garage. However your can get your hands on a decent hobby level FDM printer for around $2700.00 bucks! And even cheaper. IF you want to PLAY! There is a maker movement going on in the world of 3d priming for the last 5 or so years. Many many FDM Hobby machines or what they call (Pro-sumer printers) on the market now. You can even buy one threw Staples for just under a grand, they are called the Cube. There are a ton of FDM printers out there now as low as 8-900 bucks. The better hobby based printers are the MakerBot printers imo. http://www.makerbot.com/ Now these lower end printers will not get you high tolerance parts like a pro level FDM. For that you need to invest a lot more $ if you expect your parts to fit and assemble as expected and as per your design intent and function of the parts and prototype/s.

FDM is Fused Deposition Modeling where the parts are printed in ABS plastic or PLA witch many of the Maker Bot printers use, witch is a plastic that is made from corn and is Eco friendly and biodegradable. The CAD designed part/s are sliced into layers and tool path is created. Parts are then printed layer buy layer from nothing on to a build platform. The printer head follows the tool path and extrudes the hot ABS plastic from a micro sized nozzle to build the part that has been created from the CAD model. The layers are user definable for example my machine dose a .01 layer thickness, MakerBot printers can do much finer layers. I use & own a pro leval machine (a Dimension SST1200ES) and use 3D printing on a daily basis in my work as a toy prototyper and inventor for the toy industry. The machine I have cost about 33k. I can design the most demanding parts with the craziest internal features (just like the guy in the video spoke about). The inside of a turbo charger is pretty complex shapes! And very complicated to reproduce with CNC milling. My printer will build parts with incredible accuracy. Within .003-.005 tolerance, so when I print a bunch of parts the end result is they will assemble like clock work with the utmost precision. Parts printed on a pro-sumer machine will take a lot more finesse and finaginling to assemble, and lot more tweaking, and you may end up reprinting a few parts here and there.

Here is the 101 of rapid prototyping and 3D printing. There are many other types of 3D printers and rapid prototyping technology's.

LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing) witch is one of the oldest types of rapid prototyping technologies. Where it builds parts buy cutting profiles of plastic or paper, stacking them on top of each, then gluing each layer to each other until, the part is built.

Stereolighography or SLA is the oldest form of RP (rapid prototyping) invented back in the very 80s by Chuck Hull. This technology spawned the rapid prototyping movement and the company that emerged as a result was 3D Systems. They are the leading company in this arena. This process shoots a Lazer beam into a vat of photo curable resin and cures the part layer, layer by layer until the part is done. It is very accurate. This is very much the same basic process and principles of motion control as you seen in the video of the metal parts being printed but with different materials. The industrial machines are into the 3/4 mill price range. But you can pick up a small desktop version SLA for $3300.00. http://formlabs.com this machine also uses a photo curable resin and is just a micro SLA printer. This little machine is in the same class as the hobby level FDMs I spoke about. You can get parts off it but if accuracy is the most important issue then you will be better served sending your parts to a service bureau or looking into a real printer. The Form 1 is great if your a sculptor who needs outputs of his sculpts and is not so concerned with part dimensional accuracy.

With the same basic motion control system there is also SLS (Selective Laser Sintering). This technology uses powdered based materials such as metal, nylon like materials, or many other types of plastic powders. The laser fuses the partials together layer buy layer until the part is done.

Another adaptation of SLS type process uses ink jet technology instead of lasers to fuse the material. It basically sprays a curing liquid on to a flattened bed of powdered based plastic, curing the layers till the part is built. It is kind of like monomer and acrylic, like when your girl goes and get her nails done. (Fake nails) they glue on a plastic nail then blend it with a dental acrylic (same stuff some fake teeth and dentures are made of) This technology dose not create parts with good surface finish. Its very rough like sand paper texture. You can have nylon printed and it creates a very strong part.

There is also resin based systems that print layer by layer utilizing the same technology as ink jet printers & UV cur resins. This is similar technology like our paper printers use. This technology layers the resin buy shooting very very fine drops of resin from the print head nozzles layer by layer till the part is done. After the resin layer is laid down the print head unit passes over top of the part with a very intense UV light that instantly cures that layers resin. Some then mill over the top of the cured resin to flatten it out and control the build layer thickness and accuracy. This technology can print layers as thin as 16 microns that's .0006 ( a human hair or sheet of paper is ab out 75 microns) so surface quality of these parts are really nice. The very high end machines in this category print ridged and flexible materials (at the SAME time from the same part geometry) So you could be making a part with a flexible living hinge in the middle and the outer arms or parts would be a ridged material all in one print job, all as one unified part. Just like alot of the toothbrushes now a days where there is a hard plastic and then inlays of rubberized sections. This is a perfect example of what can be done on these printers. And the materials can be customized to control the durometer or hardness of the material from very flexible to very ridged. Also multicolor material as well. This group of machine capable of this type of printing is know as Objet. Witch was recently bought out by Statasys, Same company that my FDM is from. Stratasys was the innovator & inventor of the FDM process & technology. Objet was the inventor of this resin based ink jet print technology.

There are a few other variations of 3D printers, but all use these same basic approach to the technology, just the materials are different. Move the print head around using 3 axis motion control system to extrude, cure or distribute the material. Some print wax for example good for lost wax burn out & metal casting. One other is DLP (digital light projection) witch is very similar to SLA but instead of the laser only curing where the light comes in contact with the resin, the DPL technology cures the entire layers profile or silhouette in only a few seconds all at the same time. So printing a lot of parts is faster on this machine compared to an SLA machine. All these technologies have there pros and cons. For example the DLP creates a beautiful surface with very little evidence of build lines BUT the accuracy suffers. FDM makes a part you can use, test, and are very durable but they are typically very heavy visible build lines. Maker Bots can do some really nice very thin build layered parts. SLA, Objet, DLP and all other resin based systems always lack in the printed parts durability. BUT part accuracy is the top notch (SLA & Objet) Drop the part and it may shatter! Its a lot like polyester resin that you would fix a boat with, but only the resin not the cloth. IF you were to mix up a batch of resin and make a thin part with it, it would most likely break if dropped. So that is the inherent downfall of the resin based printed parts.

Now all those printers and technology are an additive process. Last on the list is CNC (computer numerical control) Witch most moto heads have heard the term, some know what it means some don't. This process takes advantage of world of materials it is capable of making parts from. REAL world materials such as aluminum, steel, titanium, delrin etc. SO the part is cut (Milled) or (Lathed) from a billet stock of material (a large block of material ) such as aluminum. So unlike the additive RP technologies where the parts are build up from nothing CNC is a subtractive method of producing a part. You start with a big block of material and it is then carved away gradually, starting with large tooling cutters called end mills, then gradually you are cutting away less and less material with smaller and smaller cutters until the net part is archived. LOTS of planning and man hrs go into the CNC process. If you have aftermarket tipple clamps on your bike they are probably CNC machined from billet aluminum. Stock ones are cast then only certain areas are machined for fitments and assemblies. Now the BIG down side to CNC is the complexity of the process itself. AND the limitations of what is possible. There are a whole list of limitations that would fill this page if I really went on and on. 3D printing is really like magic! You process the CAD Part by loading the model into the software, software slices the part up into the desired build layer thickness, (software dose all the work) and THEN click PRINT! DONE! You can train monkeys to do it! its that easy. The hard part is building the CAD parts OR doing the digital sculpting. CNC is not like that at all, there is NO magic in CNC machining. Maybe that can be part 2 to this thread if you guys want more info on it. I used to do ALL my toy action figure work on CNC and mill the sculptures in toy sculpting wax. The up side was I would yield an almost finished sculptures right off the mill. BUT it is a pain in the A, and any small mistake or something you over look will screw you in the end with a tool crash or blown part. In my industry I was one of the pioneers and one of the 1st sculptors / model makers using rapid prototyping for making toys. The term 3D printing has almost become a household word now. Its an amazing process, truly magical.

Sorry for going on & on I just hoped some of you will enjoy the 101 of 3D printing and rapid prototyping. I'm a geek for it, live it, love it, just like riding. Hope you guys learned something and enjoyed it.

Edited by Bill_B
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