Lean Machine | Metal and Carbon Fiber 3D Printing for Job Shops


One of the big challenges we had with
the bending cell was to basically design and integrate everything in a really
timely fashion. We were able to actually do it in about six months and that would
not have been possible without the additive We found Markforged by
researching for the best printers out there for commercial and industrial
quality printing. One of the parts we make at Lean Machine is aluminum wire
clip like this. The tooling in general, what we used to use, was a big heavy
steel tooling like this to put in our press break So one thing we found we could do with printing was actually print these tools instead The big thing that we saw with Markforged was They took a big step from a hobby printer to something that you can actually make parts out of And we saw a few sample parts and then we kind of jumped in with it and haven’t look back So the first
step is that you load the blanks into the trays which hold 200 parts each.
After that the robot picks the parts out of that tray using an array system and
then takes it into the press break to bend them one at a time. Because of the
3D printing you have complete control over the profile of your bend. The Onyx
is actually very good for a friction and it doesn’t leave any marring on the part
at all, so we have a much nicer part with the printed tooling and that’s easier
and cheaper to make the tools, so it’s kind of a win-win With the continuous fiber, you make a printed part that not only could compete with aluminum parts but in many cases actually, be a better part One of the biggest real gains
that we found with the 3D printer is that if we want to get parts made we
don’t have to go and schedule them out in the machine shop. We don’t have to
order tools. We don’t have to make drawings We can skip all of that and we
can just get the parts made on the printer We come in the next day, the
parts are ready, we can start testing with them, and we don’t have to go and
check that they’re right And being able to have every single feature on a
printed part coming out within two or three thousand, with zed accuracies of less than a thou. I mean, the accuracy stuff is huge. As soon as we heard about metal printing, it’s the next level, so we started looking into it we’re excited about it because I mean if
we can make some tools work really well on a plastic, it kind of blows
your mind on what we could probably do out of steel. For the grippers, they’ll just
look really awesome on there The metal printed parts they look nicer than most machine parts. We just keep bending thousands of parts and the tools are not
wearing they’re just bending perfect parts. It’s
like okay these guys can pretty much do anything

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