At my last company, in about 2009, we were jumping seriously into additive. We had some machines, but needed more capacity. We set-up jobs with a bunch of small additive companies and they uniformly provided parts way out of spec. The two companies we had good luck with were existing machining companies that had brought in additive like the company in your link. Both ended up very successful; one sold that portion of the business to a huge company and made a fortune.
That's a good article. It continues to be be striking how difficult it seems to be to get a powder metal printing workflow for a novel part or material. These guys ended up taking over machines that other companies couldn't get to work economically. It's also clear that you still need all the other equipment around it like finish machining, EDM and surface finishing gear. There are still lots of people in engineering thinking they can get into this and it will all be simple, but not so. At least not yet anyway.
this is the new thing, everybody including me have lathe and mills, and competing
with gadget shit, a kid in my complex opened a shop with that kind of technology and is loaded
with all kinds of work, from F1 cars to Space X, keeps adding machines, but they tell me
they are not cheap, i asked one of his workers how much and said like 400k, has 8 machines
cycle time is long hours mostly titanium, they band saw parts from fixture plate, reason i
skin cut those plates, stainless , he has a okuma mill, for skin cut plates but is too busy, one thing is for sure a mill will
make those parts not even a 5 axis, corners that end mill will not fit.
I am very impressed for a kid 28yr old, but he grew up in a aerospace family, and switched from
fadals 8030s to new tech, kid had money to burn, and the brains and connections that made it happen.
This from the article: Purging additive manufacturing machines in order to switch to a new building material may take days, resulting in temporal as well as financial costs for experimentation and learning how to effectively deploy the new machines.
I toured GE medicals 3-D lab and noted they have one machine for each material. I think the fact of expensive cleaning between materials is lost on most that don't run the equipment.
Undoubtedly the current issues with 3D metal printing will come to pass.
Around 1990 a friend and I were considering buying a stereolithography machine. Back then the machines were in the $300K range and looked to be the future. Look at the pricing today. Back then we machined lots of presentation models of new product designs for show and tell to venture capitalists. Now that highly profitable model work has been cut way back because of 3D printing.
Touring the research labs at my engineering school 10 years ago work was being done on metal printing. A friend now even has a home built metal printer that requires oven sintering the model rather than laser. Another PHD friend left a 30 year career at Boeing to go with Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos) because they were heavy into 3D metal printing. As that friend says it's nice to work for a guy who made 7 billion last week and doesn't expect to make profits for 20 years.
Seems is the future in manufacturing, satelite weight savings, complex designs, etc.
I think is big money there, my neighbor is unloading another machine as we speak, material
got to be expensive titanium little pellets, plus they suck lots of power electricity
i guess if connected with right companies money is no object.
Interesting, thanks for the link to the article. The shop I work for here in Oregon does quite a bit of work for 3D systems and various other 3D printer manufacturers. I don't know all of the ins and ours, but it's always nice to connect the dots between the parts coming out of the machine, the name on the print and real life.
Phenix certainly rings a bell, bit before my time here, but we've got a big ball screw sitting in the rack from one of their machines. Guess the sealing system wasn't up to snuff, powdered metal particles and ball screws don't mix very well.