How to Move from a 3D Scan to a Design Ready for 3D Metal Printing
Conventional manufacturing techniques have limited capabilities to realize complex geometries and create them on the shop floor. For years, this has resulted in designers altering the design of a part or product or determining whether the tradeoff should be functionality, performance or the aesthetic. With the growth of 3D metal printing, especially Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM), designers no longer have to abide by the constraints of traditional manufacturing.
3D metal printing can produce once impossible-to-make parts directly from a CAD data. This process produces strong parts with complex geometries, internal lattice structures, conformal cooling channels, and other features that cannot be made with traditional machining. Parts can also be made quickly with a minimal material waste making the process ideal for next-generation engineering in aerospace, medical, automotive, and other industries. However, 3D metal printing can be a complex process for designers to grasp as it is more challenging than 3D plastic printing. In the industry, there is a general lack of design for manufacturing knowledge for 3D metal printing as the process is still new to mainstream. To create a metal part with 3D printing, it must be specifically designed for the 3D printing process for metals and there are a few rules that designers must conform to.
One of the most popular methods for reverse engineering parts is the utilization of 3D scanning to collect the geometric data of a real-world object. While this can greatly streamline the creation of a CAD file for an existing part that needs to be recreated, the scan will still need work to become printable in metal. With 3D scanning, a designer can accurately capture the external features, however, the generated model will only display its external features, so the designer will need to ensure the internal features and the overall design meet 3D metal printing standards.
Most likely the reverse engineered part was not initially created using 3D metal printing. For this reason, the CAD model needs to be checked starting with the basic rules of 3D metal printing design, such as making sure overhangs do not exceed 0.5mm or additional supports will be needed. In addition, gaps and holes need to fit certain requirements, supports may need to be generated and more. Other manufacturing decisions will need to be made regarding physical dimensions and tolerances, types of threads, the surface flatness, finishes and color, as well as material types, corner radii and critical dimensions. This is not to mention recreating an internal structure for the 3D scanned part that reduces waste and weight, without sacrificing strength.
This session will discuss how to take a 3D scan and make it ready for 3D metal printing. The speaker will cover design tips, mistakes to avoid, and how to determine if 3D metal printing is the best process for your part.