SASKATCHEWAN RESEARCH COUNCIL
How 3D printed parts make their way to industry
By Andy Goodson, SRC
Nowadays, anyone can create and produce their own
gadgets and trinkets with a home 3D printer, but actually
engineering 3D printed parts for industry is
a different game. With strength and stiffness requirements, loadcarrying
parts and mechanical components are slow to find their
way to critical applications.
Additive manufacturing is a 3D printing technique that produces
parts inherently different from the inside out when compared to
conventional manufacturing. To address the challenges this poses,
engineers have devised ways to help industry adopt additivemanufactured
parts. The challenge for engineers is building parts
with the best possible strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight
ratios, ensuring they meet the standards of industrial use.
Engineers are free to design and create things using additive
manufacturing that were once impractical or even impossible to
build using typical methods. It can drastically reduce the weight,
total part count and cost of manufactured parts, while being more
efficient and intricately complex. To do this reliably, however, requires
specialized tools, software and know-how.
How does additive manufacturing differ
from other techniques?
As the name implies, additive manufacturing is a process of adding
material layer by layer. This contrasts with subtractive manufacturing,
which is essentially like sculpting the desired part out
of a block of solid material, or formative manufacturing, which
shapes objects by applying heat and pressure or by pouring melted
material into a casting mold and letting it solidify.
By nature, most 3D printed parts are anisotropic, meaning their
strength and mechanical properties depend on the direction they’re
built or layered. We may think of them like sedimentary rocks, such
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 3 2019 | Think BIG 45