Additive Manufacturing

MAY 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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MAY 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / AM for Tooling 24 By Stephanie Hendrixson There are certain applications today where 3D printing makes sense. An injection molder might choose to print a small batch of plastic parts that would be cost-prohibitive to mold. A ma- chine shop might invest in a 3D printer to make jigs to aid in inspecting short runs of parts. A service bureau might rely on 3D printing for product development work, as a way to make prototypes quickly and easily. What these scenarios have in common is that 3D printing makes it easier to produce a small, custom quantity. A few doz- en parts. A couple of temporary fixtures. One prototype. There are exceptions, but manufacturers today don't necessarily see 3D printing as the solution for repeatable, high-volume jobs. One of those exceptions is proving to be the precast con- crete industry. Gate Precast, a supplier of precast structural and architectural concrete, is finding that 3D-printed tooling is exactly the right solution for a job requiring high repeat- ability over many concrete pours: manufacturing hundreds of punched windows for the fa├žade of a 42-story building in New York City. For this large-scale project, 3D-printed forms have proved their worth in terms of faster lead times, increased durability and better quality in the end product. Precast Concrete, Meet 3D Printing As an alternative to wooden tooling, Gate Precast is finding that 3D-printed forms made via Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) are more durable and better able to support a large-scale project. Steve Schweitzer, vice president of operations at Gate Precast's Winchester, Kentucky, facility stands in front of a precast window set. The repeatability and volume of this job made it a good fit for expensive but durable 3D-printed forms.

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