Below are the Frequently Asked Questions.
If you do not see an answer to your question please contact us.
Additive manufacturing is exploding on the manufacturing scene as leading companies are transitioning from “analog” to “digital” manufacturing. Additive manufacturing uses three dimensional printing to transform engineering design files into fully functional and durable objects created from sand, metal and glass. The technology creates products layer by layer – after a layer’s particles are bound by heat or chemicals the next layer is added and the binding process is repeated. It enables geometries not previously possible to be manufactured. Full-form parts are made directly from computer-aided design (CAD) data for a variety of industrial, commercial and art applications.
Companies that use additive manufacturing reduce costs, lower the risk of trial and error, and create opportunities for design innovation. A serious limitation of subtractive manufacturing is that part designs are often severely comprised to accommodate the constraints of the subtractive process. Additive manufacturing enables both the design and the materialization of objects by eliminating traditional manufacturing constraints.
Cost and Time Savings – Additive manufacturing swiftly creates product prototypes – an increasingly critical function that significantly reduces the traditional trial-and-error process – so new products can enter the market more quickly. Likewise, it can promptly create unique or specialized metal products that can replace worn or broken industrial parts. That means companies can avoid costly shut downs and drastically compress the time it takes to machine a replacement part. With additive manufacturing, once a CAD drawing is created the replacement part can be printed. Storage of bulky patterns and tooling is virtually eliminated.
Environmental Impact – Additive Manufacturing produces less waste – Since the process involves adding layers of material to create a part or product vrs subtracting material there is much less waste to be recycled using additive manufacturing processes.
YES! In traditional manufacturing, objects are created in a subtractive manner as metals are trimmed and shaped to fit together properly. This process creates substantial waste that can be harmful to the environment. Additive manufacturing is a very energy efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing option.
What are the benefits of having additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing under the same roof?
There are many components, parts and proto-types that can be made using the additive manufacturing process, however there are certain situations that are best served using traditional manufacturing methods, including “touch-up’s” or “tweek’s”of printed parts that can only be done using traditional precision machining process’s. This is generally found within the corporate arena such as high tech components, aeronautics, military, automotive or any other situation that would require more of a high precision “fit”. This is not generally required when dealing with more cosmetic components such as jewelry, art, knick-knacks, or other such objects/items that are more cosmetic than functional. 3DX Industries can handle either situation which is a great benefit to our customers as we are truly a one-stop-shop for their manufacturing needs.
- The process begins with a CAD file provided by you or created by us.
- The M-Flex’s built-in software slices the CAD file into very thin layers (0.004 – 0.006 inch) (0.1 –0.15 mm).
- The machine spreads a layer of powdered metal in the build box.
- A printhead moves across the layer, depositing liquid binder according to the design for that layer.
- The layer dries and the build box is lowered slightly.
- A new layer of powdered material is spread, repeating this process until all layers have been completed.
- The build box now contains a fully printed and bound part, surrounded by loose powder (which acts as a support). The part is considered in a “green state” at this point and very fragile.
- The printed part is depowdered and goes into a furnace for sintering, which burns out the binder and fuses the metal molecules making a hardened part, approximately 60% dense.
- Metal parts are now strong and can be handled but still contain tiny internal gaps. Therefore, infiltration (a second thermal process) is required to bring parts up to full density. The M-Flex Materialization Systems typically utilize a bronze infiltrant.
Thermally-processed metal parts are near 100% density and can be used functionally – not only as prototypes. A variety of finishing options are available, including protective coats and plating.
Our M-Flex 3D Metal Printing System is able to print in stainless steel, bronze, tungsten and glass at this time. New materials are being studied and tested to create even more versatility. Keep an eye on our website for updates.
Our Z-Corp 3D Composite printer prints with high performance composites allowing us to create a variety of products and prototypes out of plastics. Please call us for specifics on the materials we can use for printing.
There is an interesting question. 3DX has over 30 years’ in house management experience building precision machine components for numerous companies worldwide. We specialize in quality and customer service. Our management team has been involved in the additive manufacturing process for the past 8 years through plastic printing and have spent a considerable amount of time over the past 3 years learning and understanding the 3D Metal Printing process. With our experience in these areas there is not to many things we can’t handle. Our expertise lies in smaller components made out of metal mainly due to the restrictions of our equipment. We can accommodate a variety of smaller plastic components as well. If you have something you would like built, proto-type or production runs, please contact us. If we can’t help you we can sure point you in the right direction.
Absolutely! In fact with our M-Flex 3D Metal printing system we can create almost anything you can think of that will fit in your hand out of metal or plastic. The ability to generate intricate designs for jewellery, knick-knacks, ornaments etc. is a speciality of our 3D Metal printer. It is versatile enough to print a beautiful pendant or meet the high structural demands of a high speed turbine to be used in an energy generation project. From high end industrial uses to beautiful works of art, we are excited to tackle your project.
For additive manufacturing we have a state of the art M-Flex 3D Metal Printing System, from The ExOne Company, along with a Z-Corp Composite Printer both of which are housed within our environmentally controlled printing room. Our printing room also includes a furnace and curing oven as well as numerous pieces of auxiliary equipment to support the M-Flex and Z-Corp printers.
Our precision machining department includes high speed machining centers from Fanuc’s ROBODRILL line all the way up to Cincinnati Milacron’s large capacity Vertical milling center with an envelope size of 80x30x32. In total we have 13 CNC Machines, several with 4th support pieces to aid in the production process.
3DX is a complete 3D Metal Printing, Composite Printing and Precision Component Manufacturer. If you need something built, please contact us to see if we can help you out.
3DX will continue to provide high quality – high precision parts to its customers, using the additive and traditional methods of manufacturing. We are excited to be able to offer our client base the option of 3D Metal printing, to not only reduce costs but reduce our impact on the environment by moving towards more additive manufacturing processes. It is our goal to add more 3D Metal printers to our production line, and phase out some of the subtractive manufacturing equipment currently in use. We do feel there will continue to be a requirement for both processes, but any steps we can make towards reducing our carbon footprint is a step in the right direction.
We do not offer tours to the public at this time. If you are with an educational institution and would like to have a tour of our facility please contact us to discuss.
We are always on the lookout for qualified personnel who are interested in making a difference. We encourage anyone interested in the 3D design and manufacturing process or those who are qualified and experienced in CNC machine operations to send us their resume. 3DX is always looking for experienced CAD designers to work with our internal product development team.