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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Page 5 of 43

MAY 2018 Additive Manufacturing Something to Add 4 Reporting from Tooling's Frontier There are arguably three major are- nas of additive manufacturing today, and they deserve to be considered separately because they are advanc- ing in separate ways. Those three arenas are low-volume production (ones and tens of parts), high- volume production (hundreds and thousands of parts) and tooling. In the realm of low-volume pro- duction, small 3D printers are getting more capable. Smaller manufacturers in ever-growing numbers are therefore coming to employ these two different options at once: 3D printers running in an office-like room and traditional production equipment running out on the shop floor. In the realm of high-volume production—a realm that is mostly still promise—enough different options are being developed and proven (find a new example on page 10) that at least one of those options will prove to be a way that various major manufacturers carry out production runs not more than several years down the road. And in both of the realms just cited, not all of the advanc- ing options are new. Metal powder-bed fusion, one of the more "established" AM technologies, is still developing into different directions (faster machines, bigger machines and smaller machines as well) that will give it still more to say about both the arenas above. The technologies introduced latest are not necessarily those that will prevail. And then there is tooling. All of the above, about the advances of AM into different types of part production, is a necessary prologue to point out how AM for tooling is moving forward in a different and no less important way. That additive manufacturing is an effective choice for mak- ing custom tooling is indisputable, and indeed, the use of 3D printing to make tooling has now become established enough and even routine enough that is would seem the advance of technology has nothing further to say about this AM applica- tion. Yet in the realm of tooling, the advance of technology is not the story, or at least not the main one. Technology is not where the most important gains are taking place. The frontier for 3D-printed tools is instead found in the still-growing range of industries and applications that are realizing the value of this resource. For example, while it is not a leap today for injection molders and CNC machine shops to see 3D printing as a way to make tools, what about the precast concrete industry? Can AM for tooling have a role this far removed from discrete part- making? Find the answer in the cover story on page 24. And what about PVD coating? Here is another application that would seem to have no daily use for 3D printing—except that it does. Learn more on page 30. Finally, let us not imagine we have found all the uses in a machine shop. Can we print press brake tooling? Seemingly yes—see page 40. The story of tooling in the next several years will be the story of 3D printing's spread into other industries and appli- cations, including many where the leaders of those industries are not yet thinking of AM. In fact, here technology will enter in, because technology will facilitate the spread. Two of the tooling applications found in this issue involve composite material—polymer filled with carbon fiber. The chance to ap- ply ever more capable materials will allow 3D-printed tooling to reach even more industries, and will allow it to transform applications even beyond the ones we have found this month on tooling's frontier. Transformative applications of custom tooling are spreading into industries not usually associated with 3D printing. Read about examples in this issue. The frontier for 3D-printed tools is instead found in the still-growing range of industries and applications that are realizing the value of this resource. Peter Zelinski / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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