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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By Author MAY 2018 Additive Manufacturing CHECK THIS OUT 40 Can You 3D Print Press Brake Tooling? Metalforming with a press brake involves placing sheet metal between a punch and die and applying force to bend the sheet into a desired shape. While standard metal punches and dies are available for common features such as 90-degree angles, many parts require specialized tooling. Typically such tools are machined from metal, in a costly process that can take days of a machinist's time and delay part delivery. A case study from Centerline Engineered Solutions illustrates one alternative to conventional machined tooling: a press brake punch and die 3D printed from carbon-reinforced polymer. For a customer part that required a lancing operation in 14-gauge steel, Centerline 3D-printed a custom punch and die with its MarkForged Mark Two 3D printer from Onyx material, a nylon matrix blended with chopped carbon fiber. The print was paused at strategic points to allow an operator to add 14-gauge steel inserts for extra support beneath critical features (shown above). The punch and die were 3D printed in less than 48 hours, largely unattended, at a cost of only about $200. In use on Centerline's Trumpf press brake, the punch and die successfully withstand between 1 and 2 tons of pressure to lance the steel blank to customer depth specifications. Watch the 3D-printed tooling in action in the video available at By Stephanie Hendrixson Rather than invest machining time and resources into making this punch and die from metal, Centerline Engineered Solu- tions 3D-printed the tooling, pausing at strategic times to install the steel inserts for added support, shown in this cutaway. Centerline has shown that tooling 3D printed from Onyx material, a nylon matrix blended with chopped carbon fiber, can withstand the forces of a press brake. Standard press brake tooling is available for features such as the 90-degree angles in this part. But, one face also requires lancing—an operation that would typically mandate a custom machined tool.

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