Delcam’s Jan Willem Gunnink presented a paper on Combining Additive Manufacturing and Subtractive Manufacturing at the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing conference held by the University of Nottingham on 8th and 9th July.
Caption: A Delcam case study in Additive Manufacturing – initial CAD model, AM part and machined part.
The presentation covered one of the several case studies undertaken by Delcam to combine the two technologies, outlining many of the ‘dirty secrets’ that have been learnt along the way. The overall conclusion was that Additive Manufacturing is like any other manufacturing technology requiring experience and specialist knowledge to ensure success.
In many cases, Additive Manufacturing is being promoted as a ‘one-button-push’ manufacturing solution that is able to produce any part without the designer, engineer or operator having to consider any limitations to the process. In fact, it has its pros and cons that must be understood and appreciated to make the best use of the benefits that the technology can offer.
Some of the cons, including the quality of the surface finish and the lack of accuracy for precise geometry such as holes, can be solved by using Subtractive Manufacturing (machining) on parts generated with Additive Manufacturing. However, these subsequent processes do impact the geometry that needs to be produced at the Additive stage. Considerations like reference points and clamping locations do not fit the ‘sexy’ image of Additive Manufacturing but are essential to get the most out of the possibilities that the technology can offer for series production.
The key to all these developments is the digital information that is needed for each step from product design to completed manufacture. This data cannot yet be generated automatically but instead needs careful consideration. Manufacturing with the new processes still needs talented engineers that have to be provided with intelligent CADCAM tools to combine Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing successfully.
Delcam is taking part in a number of collaborative programmes to help understand the tools that the company needs to provide to its customers involved with Additive Manufacturing. As part of these programmes, a number of case studies have been completed, covering all the different steps that need to be undertaken within projects combining Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing.
The Nottingham presentation described the mistakes that have been made, so that delegates could avoid similar problems, and the lessons that were learnt, so that the audience could benefit from Delcam’s experiences. It also outlined the plans being progressed at Delcam to improve the company’s CADCAM software to make it easier for customers to make full use of the benefits of Additive Manufacturing.
For further information on Delcam and its CADCAM software, please contact: –
Peter Dickin, Marketing Manager
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