Additive Manufacturing

MAR 2018

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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MARCH 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / High-Volume 3D Printing 40 By Stephanie Hendrixson 3D printing is changing the way that manufacturing happens, from start to finish. Just some of the changes are these: Where producing a new part traditionally might have necessitated a capital investment in tooling such as molds, 3D printing requires only a build file and raw material; where conventional manufac- turing must deal with waste products such as fluids and chips, 3D printing generates little to no waste; and where parts that might once have been manufactured and held in inventory, the same parts can instead be 3D-printed on demand. And as a result of changes such as these, the places where manufacturing happens are also changing. 3D printing makes it possible to manufacture virtually anywhere—even, as it turns out, in Brooklyn. A graffitied building in the borough's East Williamsburg district is home to Voodoo Mfg., a two-year-old startup producing polymer end-use parts within a 5,000-square-foot space, of which the production floor occupies just 2,000 square feet. Despite a limited footprint, the company is able to compete today with injection molding for batch sizes in the thousands through a com- bination of 3D printing capacity—specifically, a fleet of more than 200 desktop printers—and manufacturing software developed in-house. With more equipment and planned automation inte- gration, the company hopes to be able to compete with molding for batches of 100,000 parts in the near future. Hardware-Enabled Currently, Voodoo Mfg. says its prices are comparable to injection molding for batch sizes ranging from 1 to 10,000 parts, but with faster turnaround times. This is possible in part just through a sheer quantity of 3D printers. The company's Brooklyn microfac- tory is stocked with more than 200 MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers, stacked two high in custom-built racks to fit within the compact production space. Parts can be printed in PLA or TPU, in a full range of colors. The company is "aimed at high volumes of commodity parts with no high-end re- quirements for dimensional accuracy," says Jonathan Schwartz, co-founder and chief product officer (CPO). Customers range from Manufacturing from a Microfactory Armed with a fleet of MakerBot 3D printers and its own proprietary software, Voodoo Mfg. is producing parts by the thousands from its small Brooklyn facility. Jonathan Schwartz stands in Voodoo Mfg.'s Brooklyn microfactory. Founded in 2015, the company has the capacity to 3D print quan- tities of 1 to 10,000 parts within two weeks using its 200+ MakerBot M2 printers.

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