Additive Manufacturing

AUG 2017

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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AM / Exceeding Expectations 39 far faster than the months-long turnaround for the metal DustRam, and avoids the added machining, welding and heat treat steps that version requires. But the 3D-printed DustRam isn't a replacement for the metal version; instead it is a lower-cost option, retailing for about one- third the price of the original. Contractors who aren't ready to purchase the metal Dustram can make a smaller investment in the 3D-printed version. Its lighter weight also makes the 3D- printed version easier to use on vertical surfaces or for long peri- ods of time, reducing operator fatigue. Ongoing Production, Continuous Improvement The company currently prints small volumes of the DustRam in-house on the Fortus 450mc. To buy a mold to make this device would have cost about $100,000, says King, and the molded prod- uct would have required traditional machining before assembly. When it isn't printing DustRam parts, the Fortus 450mc is also used for short production runs of other products, including at least 10 different parts that go into specialized vacuum systems. The 3D printer prints in both nylon and ASA, and rotates between the two materials every few weeks. The company is looking into buying a second Fortus 450mc to keep up with production. Adding a second 3D printer will provide flexibility to print a greater variety of parts at once, or to knock out larger orders more quickly. King places such confidence in the quality of the 3D-printed product and the company's ability to fulfill production needs that he has no intention of purchasing an injection mold anytime soon. But it's not just about being able to manufacture products. It's about being able to manufac- ture better products. As an inventor, "I keep finding new and better ways to do something," King says. Thanks to 3D printing, he says, "Within two hours my engineer can substantially change a design. I can grow it in the next couple of days, try it out and see if it worked. We can make little micro changes along the way." And King and his team know just what changes to make. As a company that both sells and uses the products it designs, Arizona Home Floors is now positioned to continuously improve solutions to the problems it faces every day. an opportunity to expand the DustRam product line without buying into a mold at all. Making Adjustments Impressed by the durability of the 3D-printed nylon DustRam, King purchased a Stratasys Fortus 450mc from PADT, and began to develop a version of the product to be 3D printed in the same flexible nylon as the prototype. The product's original design proved to be well-suited to 3D printing already, with the excep- tion of one feature: the nose. In the metal version of the DustRam, the nose is machined from S7 tool steel and is used to help pry up old flooring during demolition. The flexible nature of the nylon prevented the 3D-printed version from being used this way, but the nose still took more wear and tear than the rest of the device. To account for this wear, the way that the nose attached need- ed to change. In the metal version, the tool steel nose is pinned to the DustRam's aluminum body and is not intended to be removed. In the printed version, it is attached with two screws; the company now sells replacement 3D-printed noses for around $300 that users can install themselves when one wears out. (The typical lifespan for a nose is six months to one year, King says.) This new design has a manufacturing time of about 55 hours, including the 3D printing, a soak in sodium hydroxide to remove supports, installation of brass inserts and assembly. This is The metal version of the DustRam (center) has a tool steel nose pinned in place that can be used to help pry up tile. After the success of the solid 3D-printed prototype (left), the retail version (right) was designed with a removable nose that can be replaced by the user when it wears out. Jack King, founder of Arizona Home Floors, holds a chipping hammer equipped with the original version of the DustRam, machined from aluminum and tool steel. The metal version is rugged and effective, but heavy, weighing in at 12 pounds. The 3D-printed nylon DustRam weighs just 3 pounds, making it more ergonomic to use for long periods of time.

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