Additive manufacturing has increasingly become a topic of interest in the manufacturing sector and for good reason. Implementing 3D scanning and 3D printing provides several alternative solutions that cannot be as easily accomplished using conventional methods. The full 3D scan to 3D print workflow and the benefits of incorporating 3D technology were further explored during the “3D Manufacturing Technologies Seminar” hosted by Modern Tech in Orlando, FL on Thursday, February 12.

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During the event, FARO’s Senior Applications Engineer Les Baker presented on the steps involved in the 3D Scanning to 3D Printing process, which included a demonstration of the scanning process. Les began the presentation with an overview of FARO products, their measuring range and accuracy, and explained which product is best suited for which applications (visit www.faro.com for more information).

Les discussed how the new FARO Edge ScanArm HD can be used for Reverse Engineering applications. Reverse Engineering has been around for as long as manufacturing –  but is becoming more prevalent due to rapid and additive manufacturing. By incorporating 3D scanning, you can document the as-made condition of the parts, or mating assemblies, to be sure it will actually integrate as intended – rather than only designing to the ideal dimensions in a print that the part may deviate from, resulting in costly redesign and rework.

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Utilizing the FARO Edge ScanArm HD, users can find the dimensional aspect of a part, which is the primary focus for measurement. The user can then incorporate this data into a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program enabling the data to be converted into polygon meshes or a 3D model. A 3D printable file of the CAD model can then be generated and fed into a 3D printer

Les also touched on the capability of the FaroArm and Laser Tracker to be used in conjunction – referred to as TrackArm technology– and how the two can “leap frog” enabling a user to measure much larger objects and parts.

Following Les’ presentation, Stratasys Business Development Manager, John Dobstetter, discussed specific applications for 3D printing. Throughout the presentation, John highlighted the creative ways companies are using 3D printing as a solution while providing examples of the 3D printed parts and tools. Just a few of the applications John discussed were:

  • Jigs and Fixtures
  • Hydro form, rubber pad, tube form applications
  • Mold Tools
  • Mold Inserts
  • Trim or Drill tools

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John also discussed how Stratasys was involved in a U.S. Marine Corps project in June 2014. An AV-8B Harrier Aircraft pilot needed to make an emergency landing after the front landing gear malfunctioned. The U.S. Marine Corps developed a cradle designed for this kind of incident, where the nose of the plane could land safely, which was a success. Stratasys was able to assist with the repair of the damaged airframe. They received the data set, provided by Boeing, and created the tooling and replacement parts for the airframe within just one week.

As John mentioned during his presentation, 3D printing may not be suitable for a project requiring production of thousands of parts, but it is a perfect solution for smaller production quantities needed in a short time frame. The time required to prepare manufacturing machines to produce thousands of parts can take weeks or months – whereas when 3D printing parts it may only require a day or so preparation time before you can begin production.

The event was highly beneficial for companies, like United Launch Alliance, who are considering incorporating both 3D scanning and 3D printing into their current workflows. “Our company has recently began to explore 3D printing solutions and the use of FARO technology as a way to stay competitive and reduce costs so this event was a great way to learn more,” says Daniel Arend, United Launch Alliance Systems Test Engineer.

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The 3D printing event closed with a Q&A and a chance to network with other industry professionals, while also viewing the 3D scanning and 3D printing displays.

If you missed the event and would like to speak with a technology expert, schedule a complimentary on-site demonstration, or receive a price quotation please complete the form below.

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