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The Do’s and Don’ts of Metal 3D Printing Professional

3 weeks ago Multimedia Battambang   13 views

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Don’t forget metal AM is an end-to-end process, not just a machine. The specific features and functions of a metal AM system are important, but it’s critical to look at how the platform addresses the entirety of the process to ensure the best results. At Velo3D, for example, the Sapphire 3D printer is integrated tightly with Flow print preparation software and Assure, a quality assurance and control system. Flow employs simulation to ensure predicable print outcomes directly from a native CAD workflow. 

The software also features standardized recipes for parts, negating the need to develop new process parameters for every print job, saving time and reducing the need for SLS 3D printing specialists. Assure uses a multi-sensor defect detection system to predict bulk material properties for each part and to determine print health in real time, ensuring companies can move to production with verifiable part-to-part consistency. 

“Historically, engineers have had to wait for something to be printed to scan and check results,” says Zach Murphree, vice president of technical partnerships at Velo3D.

Do embrace an iterative approach to design and manufacturing. That’s at the heart of the benefits of SLA 3D printing of all types. “Don’t be afraid to put something on the machine,” says Patrick Dunne, vice president of advanced application development at 3D Systems. “Maybe it doesn’t work, maybe it breaks, but it’s the ability to iterate at a high frequency and embrace Agile as a design approach that’s so interesting.”

Do get your feet wet with a service bureau. To determine whether metal AM makes sense for your applications, consider enlisting the help of a service bureau that has already gone through the learning curve and codified best practices to address complexities like part orientation or how to best plan for supports. 

“We’ve already been through the growing pains,” contends David Bentley, senior manufacturing engineer for FDM 3D printing at Protolabs, a contract manufacturer. “Right now metal 3D printing isn’t a dark art, but there’s definitely some art to it. We can look at a part and come up with a solution that works on the first print and avoid a lot of that trial and error.”