Additive manufacturing makes it possible to render almost any three-dimensional design with a 3D printer, computer-aided design software and the right extruder equipment and materials.
To take this approach, you will need to source filaments or powders to manufacture components in-house rather than finished parts. Here are four reasons for the ongoing expansion of additive manufacturing industries along with tips for getting more value out of 3D printing equipment.
Applications Demanding High Temperature Performance
Recent developments in 3D printing equipment and materials are making it possible to produce 3D printed components that perform well in high-temperature applications. Academic research on high-temperature printing with super engineering plastics such as Polyetheretherketone, which is often referred to as PEEK, emphasizes the heat resistance of this material.
In addition to selecting the right printing materials, it is also important to use additive manufacturing equipment rated for high-temperature conditions. The recent release of advanced extruders with high-temperature filament processing capabilities enables enterprises with advanced 3D printing equipment to print with materials such as PEEK, polyamide and polycarbonate that can be used to make a variety of solutions for metalworking tools.
Preventing Erosion & Corrosion & Wear
Wear protection components and solutions are one of the more obvious applications for 3D printing in machining. Technicians skilled in CAD, materials science and 3D printing can develop in-house solutions to prolong the operating life of machinery.
Pre-made parts can still be preferable for certain applications. For instance, the turning solution FIX 8 has eight cutting edges per insert and is suitable for medium machining and roughing. Finished components feature materials and part design that work together to achieve results with 15% less cutting forces, making this solution compatible with low horsepower lathes.
Making Custom Components and Parts
An enterprise that has a 3D printer equipped with an extruder rated for the materials intended for use is ready to start manufacturing custom components and parts. Starting with design and material selection, an employee pursuing in-house solutions for machine part protection or repair will need to ensure that custom components fit and do not affect machine function.
While custom 3D printed components may solve problems in the short-to-medium term, precision engineered metalworking and tooling parts provide better performance over time. These tested solutions are also faster and easier to implement and require less trial and error to get right.
Saving Money and Time With 3D Printing
Save time and money experimenting with 3D printing by making sure that equipment and materials will stand up to the intended use and meet relevant safety standards. Kennametal powders for additive manufacturing such as Stellite 21 AM™ and Delcrome 17-4 AM™ or 316L AM™ may be preferable for particular applications.
The ability to 3D print wear protection solutions and other machine components can make it easier to replace worn or damaged parts. Advances in 3D printing and materials science mean that this technology still has the potential to offer time- and money-saving alternatives when prototyping or producing practical components that extend machine operating life.