CAD Tech News (#48)18 Aug, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff
To meet the exacting requirements of a supplier to the U.S. military, Buckeye Shapeform adopted laser-scanning technology that watches for any deviations from the design.
By Cadalyst Staff
Buckeye Shapeform, based in Columbus, Ohio, has long experience with creating a wide variety of enclosures — everything from electronics housings to lidded tins for scented candles. Recently, the company embarked on a project that required an even higher level of precision: creating housings for tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) missiles.
This wasn't the company's first foray into crafting missile housings, called skins. But it was the first time the customer had such tight requirements. The skin must mate precisely to the many other components of the missile, and as such it has more than 400 unique critical features. In addition, the skin is not the same thickness throughout; it ranges from four-hundredths to three-eighths of an inch thick at different points.
"They have GD&T [geometric dimensioning and tolerancing] tolerances that were difficult to do with standard measurements or a CMM [coordinate measuring machine]," explained Kevin Kretschmer, engineering manager for Buckeye Shapeform. Although all aerospace projects are very specific about dimensions and tolerances, Kretschmer noted, missiles call for maximum attention to detail: "They want to make sure this thing explodes when it's supposed to."
Before taking on the demanding project, Buckeye Shapeform implemented a new system to verify that all the critical features of the skin are placed correctly. The first part of this system is a Nikon ALTERA CMM with a laser attachment, which performs both coordinate measuring and laser scanning. "We invested in it just for this project, specifically for the tolerances that were required," said Kretschmer. Read more »
A newcomer promises to take the hassles — and toxic chemicals — out of post-processing, but its full capabilities are yet to be seen.
By Cyrena Respini-Irwin
"We just accept the limitations of today's 3D printing because we don't know anything else." That's how Frank Marangell, president and CEO of Rize, sees the professional 3D printing landscape — which he's hoping to shake up with his company. After two years of preparations, Rize came out of "stealth mode" last month, announcing itself to the public. The company is starting its beta rollout of the Rize One augmented polymer deposition (APD) 3D printer later this month, and if all goes well, sales will begin by October, said Marangell.
The company is entering a market served by well-established competitors, but Rize asserts that it's offering something new: "the only hassle-free, safe, and affordable industrial-class desktop 3D printing solution." Industry veteran Marangell, who formerly served as a vice-president for Stratasys and president of Objet's North American subsidiary, spoke to Cadalyst about these claims and his vision for the future.
Taking On the After-Party
The Rize One liquefies a solid material and extrudes it through printheads, building parts, prototypes, and other 3D models one layer at a time. That aspect of the process is not new technology; it's similar to the fused-deposition modeling (FDM) printers from Stratasys, among others. The Rize One uses different materials, however, meaning that printing speeds, temperatures, and most importantly, the need for post-processing differ too.
Post-processing — whether it involves cutting away support structures from parts, sanding rough edges, or smoothing surfaces with a chemical bath — is a primary reason why many designers and engineers avoid carrying out their own 3D printing, Marangell believes. Instead, they send their designs to an in-house lab or out-sourced printing bureau, introducing delays into their workflows. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is editor in chief of Cadalyst.
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