Browse F.A.Q. Topics
Why did 3DX decide to transition into the additive manufacturing arena?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.
What are your goals moving forward?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.
3DX Industries has both the Additive Manufacturing process and the more traditional method of manufacturing under the same roof. Why?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.
What are some of the other benefits of using Additive Manufacturing technology?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.
Are there Environmental Benefits to using the Additive Manufacturing Process?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 some of the advantages of Additive Manufacturing?There are tremendous cost advantages to using additive manufacturing. There is little to no waste creating objects through additive manufacturing, as they are precisely built by adding material layer by layer.
What is Additive Manufacturing?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.
Are you hiring?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 to send us their resume. We are also always looking for qualified operators for our equipment.
What type of material are you able to print in?With our M-Flex 3D Metal Printing System we are able to print in stainless steel, bronze or tungsten at this time. New materials are being worked on to create even more versatility. Keep an eye on our website for updates. With our 3D plastic printer we can create components, proto-types etc. out of various types of plastics. Please call us for specifics on the materials we are capable of printing in as this changes as new products come into the market.
Can you make jewellery and non industrial components?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.
So what type of things can you manufacture?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.
What types of equipment do you have at your facility?On the additive manufacturing side we currently have an M-Flex 3D Metal Printing System, a Z-Corp Plastic Printer both of which are housed within our environmentally controlled printing room. This includes a furnace, oven as well as numerous auxillary equipment to support the M-Flex and Z-Corp printers. Within our precision machining department we currently have 2 Fanuc robo-drills, 13 CNC Machines, XXX, XXXX and various support pieces to aid in the production process. In a nut shell we are a complete 3D Metal Printing, Plastic Printing and Precision Component Manufacturer. If you need something built, please contact us to see if we can help you out.
Can you outline the process for printing a 3D Metal part using your M-Flex System?
- 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.
Do you do factory tours?If you would like to tour our facility, please contact us to discuss.