The Many Possibilities of Additive Manufacturing

The other day we were looking around for an interesting additive manufacturing article and we came across this one in Machine Shop Online: The Many Possibilities of Additive Manufacturing. We believe additive manufacturing is going to have a profound effect on the entire process of how products are brought to market, and we are only starting to understand its impact. This article does a great job of outlining a number of possibilities for companies outlining some ideas and evaluation criteria for:

  • Production & Replacement Parts
  • Functional Prototypes
  • Tooling

In the article, it stated that “Additive manufacturing (AM) provides design and material freedoms for making parts that are impossible or too expensive to fabricate with traditional manufacturing processes such as milling and casting. Although the design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) has its limitations, it also enables new opportunities like lattice structures, conformal cooling channels and more.”

We couldn’t agree more. Today, the old rules for Design for Manufacturing (DFM) are being thrown out.  Now a designer can truly consider form, fit, and function when designing a part, while not being constrained by traditional manufacturing capabilities. And now there are other considerations they can optimize for, such as simplifying the supply chain, the cost to assemble, combining parts, just-in-time part creation (on-site) and the list goes on.

Graphic courtesy of Modern Machine Shop Online (statement about the triangle graphic)
Graphic courtesy of Modern Machine Shop Online.

New Considerations

This graphic outlines some of the new considerations available to the designer when considering AM for production parts.

Covered in the article are possible applications of 3D printing:

  • Production & Replacement Parts
  • Functional Prototypes
  • Tooling

DFAM can result in printing a part that was previously impossible to make with traditional manufacturing. Some of the benefits that DFAM can deliver are:

  • Topology optimization for “lightweighting”
  • Reduced assembly time with part consolidation
  • Reduced inventory

Markforged

Markforged arguably offers the broadest line of materials for 3D printing from Onyx (combining nylon and micro-carbon fibers) to composites (using carbon fiber, Kevlar, and more) to metal (including stainless, titanium and tool steel). For example, this single part, impossible to manufacture with traditional means (as a single part), was created with Onyx and reinforced with fiberglass. The material cost to create? A mere $112.

Alpha Additive Manufacturing Technologies

Alpha Additive Manufacturing is an exclusive Markforged Authorized Reseller, serving companies and educational institutions in the New England states.

Interested in learning more about the Markforged product line, get a Markforgedhaving a 3D Printer demo, or want to come and visit our facilities in Lowell, MA? Reach out to us, we are happy to assist you.

Read the whole article from Machine Shop Online, The Many Possibilities of Additive Manufacturing.