I’d like to share a few methods of how 3d printing is being incorporated into today’s manufacturing processes.
How it works: A thin sheet of plastic takes shape to a part without undercuts.
Possible applications: making a few masks, simple enclosures, maybe some sort of cover
RP influence: For high volume mfg, aluminum or steel patterns are used, however for low volume production a simple Z Corp part can be used (usually the Z Corp part is a shell and filled with epoxy to save $.
How it works: A part is encapsulated in a box of silicone the silicone is the mold and it is cut away. The part is removed and then urethane is poured in and set at room temperature. About 15 parts can be used by a single silicone mold, depending on geometry.
Possible applications: Any part for which a parting line can be made easily.
RP influence: If a part does not exist any RP model can be used as the master. The smoother the part the better, so that way imperfections are not carried over. FDM is not recommended. A sanded SLA is preferred.
Direct Digital Manufacturing
How it works: Instead of using patterns/molds, parts are directly manufactured. Pretty much any part that uses CAD and can be used as an end product could be considered DDM.
Possible applications: Any custom 1 offs.
RP Influence: RP doesn’t really influence DDM, it is DDM. DMLS parts are created and directly put into patients as replacement parts. EBM parts are actually designed and tested on Indy race cars. FDM parts are sometimes used in real world applications.
Feel free to add additional applications to this thread, as I’m sure they exist.
I have a client that is looking to use RP for dip molding. Anyone out there have any experience with such? Blue Stone SLA material should work, but I have never used it for that application.