3d metal printng
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  1. #1
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    Default 3d metal printng

    Hello everyone so I have been reading
    on 3d metal printing for a while, my question is
    does this look like its the next big thing in manufacturing or just a nitch

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    This video is about 4 years old so I can only imagine what they are doing now as far as 3d metal printing.

    YouTube

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    Watch the Dan Gelbart video in the thread below.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    This video is about 4 years old so I can only imagine what they are doing now as far as 3d metal printing.

    YouTube
    They showed a larger version based on their 125 model at Emo. Really nice.
    Also, they are doing some cool stuff with gradient materials on those machines.

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    Jet engine manufacturers are really exploring the tech. The ability to print with encased nozzles and voids is huge to that industry.

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    3d metal printing, especially sintering machines, circumvent so many manufacturing expenses and hurdles that it can only take off. Just think of how many machines, tools, and employees you need to manufacture something like an impeller, for instance. Additive machines also waste no materials, unlike Lathes, Mills, 4-axis CNC machines, etc. The complexity and intricacy of parts they can produce is unachievable on traditional machines. I've seen a DMLS machine produce every component of a turbocharger. Traditional methods would entail a forge, casting molds, 4-axis CNC, lathe, balancing machines, etc. That doesn't even include the salaries of the people to run those machines and the material expenses. It's pretty amazing stuff. Right now the primary limitation of these machines is their speed; most find their place in prototyping. I believe they start around 300k and the quicker machines are 1MM+. Not a huge threat to traditional manufacturing right now, but all the money in the industry is being funneled into fixing that. Every few years I check in on the cost and it's always falling.

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    there are different approaches to metal printing, i.e. diff tech. The prices are still fairly high as is final product of varying degree of properties. No question that some things beg for it and will be viable, but for now I'd think it's still a niche in a niche market. Just getting a machine and hoping that it would be useful for something to make money without doing research on cost/benefit it a tought call.

    I'd say it's too early now unless you got specific jobs and money lined up. Thankfully the rest of the tech like modeling, scanning is well established.

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    I'll make a brash statement to spark this conversation:

    3D printing technology will replace ALL but the simplest of metal milling (and those operator's jobs) in the next 10 years.

    Can anyone reassure me to the contrary? (Here's hoping someone can).

    (Here's how inexpensive the machines are getting):

    2019 Metal 3D Printer Buyer's Guide | All3DP

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    It doesn't matter how inexpensive the machines are getting so much as how expensive is each part to print. Currently, stuff like exotic alloys, small runs, new designs that reduce part/assembly components are where metal printing shines.

    I don't foresee 3D printing of simpler widgets 10 years from now being less expensive than milling them, but I've been wrong before.

    Plus, even if you 3d printed a mold so it could have some rad cooling channels not available otherwise, you would still mill and then polish the mold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy100 View Post
    I'll make a brash statement to spark this conversation:

    3D printing technology will replace ALL but the simplest of metal milling (and those operator's jobs) in the next 10 years.

    Can anyone reassure me to the contrary? (Here's hoping someone can).

    (Here's how inexpensive the machines are getting):

    2019 Metal 3D Printer Buyer's Guide | All3DP
    I don't think so and here's why.

    3D printing is slow. While it's perfect for prototypes, casting and machining are faster. Injection molding (plastics) and die casting (metals) are much faster for volume parts and machining is still the fastest way to add fine details post-casting. A while ago I read an article about how the Navy was 3D printing prototype titanium ducts to add rebreather capability to its deep dive helmets. The article mentioned that production quantities would be made by conventional methods.

    Often small batches of simple parts can be done via CNC in the time it would take to print one or two pieces. The more solid the part (few internal passages) the less attractive printing is.

    3D metal printers are expensive and most are not built for the durability needed to crank out production quantities year after year.

    While 3D printing is technology that will see increased use for complicated parts with many internal details I don't see it as replacing other methods for many commonly made parts, certainly not in a 10 year time frame.

    Let's also not forget stamping and forging from which millions of common parts are produced every year. As I type this I'm looking at my desk stapler, which was built with a mix of injection molding, die casting, and stamping. I can't see a 3D printed version as economically viable to produce in the quantities sold each year.

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    As others have said I think there are niche areas where 3D printing in metal is going to replace all other techniques, but there is no way it's going to displace all machining unless there is a quantum leap in the technology itself. For instance:

    Manufacture of rocket engines:
    Rocket engines have a lot of complex plumbing and were traditionally produced in many separate pieces and then stitched together using various welding techniques along with pipe joints and so on. This results in the labor cost for assembling the engine being very high, as well as machining cost being very high due to the complex nature of the parts. 3D printing is starting to drastically cut into the expense of manufacturing rocket engines because things like regenerative cooling channels can simply be printed as part of the rocket nozzle as opposed to having to make them in some other complex and time consuming way... The engines that Rocket Lab uses on the Electron rockets are almost entirely printed, and each engine apparently only takes 24 hours to produce...

    Manufacture of Bolts:
    On the other hand there is just no way that a 3D printer is going to compete with a screw machine for making things like fasteners in the next 10 years. A screw machine will make a fastener or pipe fitting every few seconds! Making them on a 3D printer is just not economical in comparison because they are simply too slow.

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