How 3D Printers Can Improve Your Metal Cutting Processes
3D printed models of parts and products have, for some time, been used in the design phase for rapid prototyping. These models afford the opportunity to quickly and inexpensively make refinements, and enable designers to explore the practicalities of moving beyond previous boundaries.
When it comes to manufacturing, however, even though additive manufacturing materials and methods continue to evolve, it’s not yet feasible for 3D printers to cost-effectively produce large volumes of parts and products in many applications. On the other hand, using 3D printing to construct a precise model of a new part prior to production offers a number of advantages for refining manufacturing processes.
For example, a 3-dimensional model of a new workpiece enables CNC machine operators and programmers to more accurately determine work holding, tooling and tool path considerations. This is especially true of complex parts that require multiple operations.
In fact, once the 3D model helps you determine the kinds of jigs and fixtures you’ll need for a production run, you can often make these work holding devices on the 3D printer in your own facility, which saves time and out-of-pocket costs.
Additionally, for many machine operators, using a 3D printed model enhances their ability to visualize the machining process more so than referring to a part print or a 3D computer simulation. As a result, they are able to refine the manufacturing process to reduce the number of operator touches required, improve material usage and optimize throughput.
Your LNS representative has many other ways to help you improve manufacturing efficiency and productivity through the industry’s most advanced bar feeders, chip conveyors, coolant management systems, air filtration and steady rests.