The creation of physical prototypes of new castings or moldings or any new part has traditionally been a challenge in the machine shop or tool room because some cast features simply cannot be duplicated. Although stereo-lithography (3D printing) has been around for some time it was fairly expensive to create a part, materials were severely limited and the equipment to produce them was in the $100,000 range. Advances in technology have decreased the size and reduced the cost substantially to allow our joint team to specify and purchase a 3D printer by mid-2013.
This machine takes modeling input from SolidWorks and creates 3D models as large as 410 cubic inches (about the displacement of a ‘69 Corvette V-8) with a layer resolution of .0039”. Three materials are available for modeling, PLA which is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyesteris, PVA which is Polyvinyl alcohol, and ABS which is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, all these are available in a wide assortment of colors.
We began using this new te
From using this new machine initially for simple manufacturing fixtures and tools, our engineering and R&D team now manufacture many new parts for custom-built OEM designs and prototypes. Examples are new motor front- and rear end shields, gear housing covers and motor adaptors. Other parts we “printed” are custom encoder covers, new terminal-box designs, Hall Effect device holders for our brushless DC motors and a new 24A motor shield with IP-44 lead exit capability.
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