SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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ENTRY LEVEL FDM 3D PRINTER PRODUCED PARTS CAN SATISFYI CERTAIN NICHE MARKETS IN INDUSTRY
Jaco La Grange, L. Becker, D.J. de Beer

Last modified: 2014-11-02

Abstract


With the establishment of the Idea to Product Laboratories® (I2P Labs®) at the Vaal University of Technology, a number of entry-level additive manufacturing machines were acquired. Some of the latest additive manufacturing machines have produced parts, which after finishing, have the same look and feel as parts produced with high end equivalent technology.

If the visual quality of finished parts produced on low end additive manufacturing machines prove to be of the same or similar quality than parts produced by high end additive manufacturing machines, it should be possible to utilize entry-level machines for production runs of parts where volumes do not make it economically viable to use conventional technologies, such as injection moulding machines. This will be limited to a certain size though but will work well on parts with a low stress level in terms of structural integrity, where batches can be produced over an extended time-line, or even by running multiple machines in a production set-up.

This will open the doors to design complex parts with undercuts or internal or hidden structures/geometries to be manufactured on economical viable scales. Currently, these parts are produced on high end machines, where both cost of ownership and associated running costs are too expensive for most SME’s.




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