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By Stephanie Wehrhan

Additive Manufacturing and Post Processing – A synergetic relationship

In the world of Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However there is something equally as important in AM, and that’s strong relationships with post processing vendors. Once a part has been 3D printed, they are often not complete for a customers proposed application. This is why we rely on a synergetic relationship with post processing services to help us provide a complete and finished product that meets the customers criteria. The most common post processing services utilized in the AM industry today are Post-Machining, HIP treatment, and Anodizing.

Our friends at Cascade Precision Inc, an Oregon based AS9100 and ISO9001 certified Post-Machining company help to post process parts that require further assistance before they are considered complete. Post-Machine shops utilize high precision CNC machines to either lath or mill a part to meet given parameters or tolerances.

When parts need their density increased, heat combined with pressure is applied to the material from all directions in a manufacturing process called HIP (Hot Isostatic Pressing). Argon is the most commonly used pressure medium. After optimal HIP treatment is applied to parts tensile strength can increase significantly based on the ductility desired by the customer.

When aiming to give a part a certain cosmetic look, customers rely on anodizing services. Anodizing hardens and coats parts to make them tougher and give them a specific color chosen by the customer. Anodizing can differ between soft and hard coating, soft coating provides a thin coating while hard coating provides a thicker coating to help prevent corrosion.

Looking to the future, the importance of maintaining a synergetic relationship with post processing services cannot be overlooked. This relationship is crucial to meet the dynamic demands of the AM industry. i3D is committed to establishing strong working relationships with post processing services in order to provide the best product possible to suite our customers needs.

i3DMFG 3D Printing Services Recreational Industry

By i3d

i3D MFG™ 3D Prints Titanium Bicycle

i3D™ Manufacturing joined INDUSTRY and Ti Cycles in creating a 3D printed titanium bicycle as Portland’s entry for the 2014 Oregon Manifest Bike Design contest. 3D printing is a perfect solution for those wanting to manufacture a tailor-made product. Whether aesthetics, function, weight reduction, design innovations, or exotic metal cost effectiveness are the goals, additive manufacturing is a game-changer for design and manufacture. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) produces functional production parts by fuses 20-40 micron layers of metal powders together from a 3D CAD model. Multiple CAD models can be built on a single run, facilitating cost effective single part production, allowing for multiple versions of the same part to be run simultaneously for evaluation, and reducing lead times from weeks or months to hours and days. Exotic metals like Titanium and Inconel become cost effective because DMLS is a no waste process – after the micro lasers are laser melted together, the left over powder is vacuumed back into the machine and reused. Traditional manufacturing of these costly metals often resulted in as much as 70% scrap, making Titanium cost prohibitive despite its perfect match for the bicycle industry’s weight and strength property requirements. While working with Titanium proved more difficult than other DMLS metals, i3D MFG™ added supports and geometry adjustments for structural rigidity and thermal dissipation to offset tolerance and creep issues created by mass, height, and stress relief. Custom latticed parts, innovative fork crown geometries, and organic frame lines were all possible using 3D printing. Design-for-3D erases all traditional manufacturing limitations, including minimum order quantities, machine lines, and complex assemblies. Furthermore, the weldability and post process properties of 3D printed parts is generally better than cast parts and comparable to machined parts.  Read 3D Print News’ interview with Ti Cycles or designboom’s article for details on this exciting Titanium bicycle project.

i3DMFG 3D Printing Services Recreational Industry
i3D MFG™ 3D Prints Titanium Bicycle