When designing in metal you not only have far greater design fl

  • You not only gain far greater design flexibility when working with metal, but you also gain the ability to procure parts in far less time and at a lower cost than you could previously obtain them at. To take advantage of this, however, you must first understand the commonalities and differences that exist between each process, as well as how to best utilize these to your advantage in each situation.




    Acknowledging and Appreciating the Yin and Yang of Metal Manufacturing

    Nothing illustrates the importance of this relationship more clearly than in the relationship that exists between CNC machining and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), which is the leading technology for 3D printing complex metal parts. The latter can create virtually any part shape with nothing more than a laser beam and a pile of metal powder, but it is a time-consuming process that can take several hours. EDM Machining Services, on the other hand, is more restricted in terms of geometry, but it produces parts at a significantly faster rate. The decision on which material to use is primarily driven by two considerations: A) whether the part or Precision Machining Parts can be machined; and B) how many parts are required.

    DMLS support is being removed.

    When designing metal parts for additive manufacturing, it is important to take into account the support structures. When it comes to DMLS, it's similar to building a metal sandcastle: without some seashells and twigs to hold it together, the ramparts will crumble and the architraves will fall apart. When working with DMLS, scaffold-like supports are required to prevent the semi-molten metal from drooping, curling, or otherwise misbehaving during the manufacturing process. Often, these supports can be removed with a Dremel tool, but Swiss CNC Machining may be the preferred method when large quantities of lock parts are required, or when the workpiece is already on its way to the machine shop for one of the previously mentioned drilling, milling, or turning operations.

    In many instances, the two manufacturing processes can be used in conjunction with one another. What are some examples? Metal-based additive manufacturing is frequently reliant on its subtractive counterpart to complete the task at hand. Holes must be bored or reamed, threads must be tapped or thread-milled, critical surfaces must be milled, turned, or ground to size, and other tasks must be completed.3D-printed cnc manufacturing require manual TLC in the form of cleaning, blasting, and support removal at the very least. This almost always results in a trip to the machine shop, which is almost always a given.

    Considerations for Metal  Regarding Accuracy

    Despite the fact that DMLS can create extremely complex shapes that would otherwise be impossible to manufacture, it is not without its drawbacks. For starters, significant heating and cooling of the metal occurs as the laser performs its work, resulting in internal stresses that must be removed through heat-treating after the part has been assembled. Except for the fact that stress relief equates to a certain amount of part movement and, consequently, a certain amount of accuracy loss, this means little to the people who are designing the part. Although not the only reason, even a well-designed DMLS-produced part will require  of any part feature where tolerances tighter than 0.003 in. (0.076mm) are required, plus 0.001 in./in. (0.001 mm/mm) for each additional inch of build height, even if the part was designed well.