This popular LinkedIn Post is a review of the things I learned at SalesConnect 2015 and how to use LinkedIn to sell more efficiently. “Successful Social Selling: What I learned at LinkedIn Sales Connect 2015” covers the overall theme of “Connect + Inspire + Transform, implementation lessons that people have learned, and the idea of the Social Selling Index, or SSI.
As our final contribution to the AZ Tech Council and PBJ’s TechFlash Column for year, we shared how “3-D Printing Hits Major Milestones in 2015.” The article give our picks for what was significant with Additive Manufacturing for the Materials, Medical, Manufacturing, Military, and Mainstream aspects of the business.
The 3-D industry had a typical year in 2015. Of course, when it comes to 3-D printing, “typical” means lots of change, growth and innovation. It’s always hard to tell which of the year’s innovations will have the biggest impact on the future, but that doesn’t take the fun out of forecasting.
PADT’s December contribution to the TechFlash column in the Phoenix Business Journal is a call to action for Arizona to step up their startup game. “Why Now is the Time for Arizona to Take the Next Step with Tech Startups” suggests the following actions:
- Work Together
- Make University IP Licensing Work
- Give Back by Taking More Risk
- Get Involved in Moving Startups Forward
- Stop Whining and Get to Work
After attending the Medica/Compamed 2015 shows in Dusseldorf, Germany, we summarized the experience in this article for the Phoenix Business Journal. As the title says, it covers “How the International Business Climate in the Medical Device Industry is Changing.” and what companies need to do to keep up with the changes.
In this, our first contribution to the AZ Tech Council and PBJ’s TechFlash column, we provide some basic advice on getting products to market faster: “5 Ways to Improve your Next Product.” The five suggestions are:
- Define requirements based on customer value
- Frontload the process with exploration and iterations
- Involve suppliers in the process
- Build in a culture of excellence and relentless pursuit of continuous improvement
- Use standardization when possible, without blocking flexibility
Suggestions and examples are given for each point.
When Desktop Engineering needed a subject matter expert on Topological Optimization and its use to drive product development, they called on PADT’s Manoj Mahendran. The article “Your Optimization Software Respectfully Suggests a Revision” gives a great overview of how designs can be driven by the use of Topological Optimization. They also mention a few of the more common tools, and with Manoj’s help, discuss the importance of 3D Printing to the process. An important take away is how these tools can be used to suggest design changes to the designer.
As I showed in a prior blog post, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is increasingly being used to make functional plastic parts in the aerospace industry. All functional parts have an expected performance that they must sustain during their lifetime. Ensuring this performance is attained is crucial for aerospace components, but important in all applications. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is an important predictor of part performance in a wide range of indusrties, but this is not straightforward for the simulation of FDM parts due to difficulties in accurately representing the material behavior in a constitutive model. In part 1 of this article, I list some of the challenges in the development of constitutive models for FDM parts. In part 2, I will discuss possible approaches to addressing these challenges while developing constitutive models that offer some value to the analyst.
It helps to first take a look at the fundamental multi-scale structure of an FDM part. A 2002 paper by Li et. al. details the multi-scale structure of an FDM part as it is built up from individually deposited filaments all the way to a three-dimensional part as shown in the image below.
This multi-scale structure, and the deposition process inherent to FDM, make for 4 challenges that need to be accounted for in any constitutive modeling effort.
- Anisotropy: The first challenge is clear from the above image – FDM parts have different structure depending on which direction you look at the part from. Their layered structure is more akin to composites than traditional plastics from injection molding. For ULTEM-9085, which is one of the high temperature polymers available from Stratasys, the datasheets clearly show a difference in properties depending on the orientation the part was built in, as seen in the table below with some select mechanical properties.
- Toolpath Definition: In addition to the variation in material properties that arise from the layered approach in the FDM process, there is significant variation possible within a layer in terms of how toolpaths are defined: this is essentially the layout of how the filament is deposited. Specifically, there are at least 4 parameters in a layer as shown in the image below (filament width, raster to raster air gap, perimeter to raster air gap and the raster angle). I compiled data from two sources (Stratasys’ data sheet and a 2011 paper by Bagsik et al that show how for ULTEM 9085, the Ultimate Tensile Strength varies as a function of not just build orientation, but also as a function of the parameter settings – the yellow bars show the best condition the authors were able to achieve against the orange and gray bars that represent the default settings in the tool. The blue bar represents the value reported for injection molded ULTEM 9085.
- Layer Thickness: Most FDM tools offer a range of layer thicknesses, typical values ranging from 0.005″ to 0.013″. It is well known that thicker layers have greater strength than thinner ones. Thinner layers are generally used when finer feature detail or smoother surfaces are prioritized over out-of-plane strength of the part. In fact, Stratasys’s values above are specified for the default 0.010″ thickness layer only.
- Defects: Like all manufacturing processes, improper material and machine performance and setup and other conditions may lead to process defects, but those are not ones that constitutive models typically account for. Additionally and somewhat unique to 3D printing technologies, interactions of build sheet and support structures can also influence properties, though there is little understanding of how significant these are. There are additional defects that arise from purely geometric limitations of the FDM process, and may influence properties of parts, particularly relating to crack initiation and propagation. These were classified by Huang in a 2014 Ph.D. thesis as surface and internal defects.
- Surface defects include the staircase error shown below, but can also come from curve-approximation errors in the originating STL file.
- Internal defects include voids just inside the perimeter (at the contour-raster intersection) as well as within rasters. Voids around the perimeter occur either due to normal raster curvature or are attributable to raster discontinuities.
Thus, any constitutive model for FDM that is to accurately predict a part’s response needs to account for its anisotropy, be informed by the specifics of the process parameters that were involved in creating the part and ensure that geometric non-idealities are comprehended or shown to be insignificant. In my next blog post, I will describe a few ways these challenges can be addressed, along with the pros and cons of each approach.
For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style. This year, 2015, we had started the day of the party by attending the new Star Wars movie, so the story had to be Star Wars related.
Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room. Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every time the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right. You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass.
You can find our older stories here
– Elf Family Christmas (2017)
– Western Christmas (2016)
– Star Wars Christmas (2015)
– Fairy Tail Christmas (2014)
– Science Fiction Christmas (2013)
– Romance Christmas (2012)
– Film Noir Christmas (2011)
A long time ago in a galaxy far far, away…
San To Claas is in trouble. Right next to the Right-torna system on the left side of the Galaxy, the planet Northpoliax, in a left hand orbit around the star Leftonia 37, was the galactic hub for all thing Christmas. Gifts left the system right after the planet’s winter solstice. But nothing left on this orbit. Because right above the largest continent on Northpoliax, a Death Star hovered. Threatening Christmas for everyone, no one was left out.
A new Sith lord, Darth Rightis, hated Christmas. All that cheer and spirit left him cold inside. Two much of the light side of the force. Just the thought of all those gifts left for younglings left him angry. But help was right around the corner. A squadron of Xwing fighters was following right behind the Millennium Falcon.
“Arffhhhhdghgg ” said Chewy.
“What? The moon on the left or the one on the right?” Asked Han Solo. Chewy gestured and Hans went to the left.
“Your other left” yelled Princess Leia. Han dived right behind the moon on the left and slingshoted right toward the Death Star, the Xwings right behind them.
The lead pilot said: “Red leader this is blue leader. You take the left side. We will take the left as well, right after you attack, those bastards won’t expect that.”
“Right” Responded blue leader.
Han added: “We will soften up that left side for you. Then let loose the “big present” after both your attacks on the left. The warhead should go right in and end this madness. “
As they approached the Millennium Falcon put covering fire to the right, then veered to the right, leaving the left open. The Xwings attacked, diving right into the slot and trying not to hit either side, the left or the right. The first attack on the left left the defenses damaged. The second attack on the left was right on target. That left the run of the Millennium Falcon. It released a plasma bomb that was wrapped in a big red package, with a bow right on top. As Han pulled up and to the left, and then the right, the warhead exploded right on inside of the main power coupler. Chewy, sitting in the right seat, bellowed in victory as the Death Star exploded right under them. As the debris clears a hologram image appeared right in the middle of the cabin.
It showed Admiral San To Clause, wearing his red uniform with white fur epilets on the right and left shoulders.
“Thank you all for coming right when we needed you. Right now, Christmas is saved and the dark side is left with one less Sith Lord. May the force, be right with you. And Merrrrrry Christmas to all!
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is the most widely used 3D printing technology today, ranging from desktop printers to industrial scale manufacturing tools. While the use of FDM for prototyping and rapid tooling is well established, its use for manufacturing end-use parts in aerospace is a more recent phenomenon. This has been brought about primarily due to the availability of one material choice in particular: ULTEM. ULTEM is a thermoplastic that delivers compliance with FAA FAR 25.853 requirements. It features inherent flame retardant behavior and provides a high strength-to-weight ratio, outstanding elevated thermal resistance, high strength and stiffness and broad chemical resistance (official SABIC press release).
During an industry scan I conducted for a recent research proposal PADT submitted, I came across several examples of the aerospace industry using the FDM process to manufacture end-use parts. Each of these examples is interesting because they demonstrate the different criteria that make FDM preferable over traditional options, and I have classified them accordingly into: design opportunity, cost and lead-time reduction, and supply complexity.
Design Opportunity: In this category, I include parts that were primarily selected for 3D printing because of the unique design freedom that layer-wise additive manufacturing offers. This applies to all 3D printing technologies, the two examples below are for FDM in ducts.
ULA Environmental Control System (ECS) duct: As reported in a prior blog post, United Launch Alliance (ULA) leveraged FDM technology to manufacture an ECS duct and reduce the overall assembly from 140 parts to only 16, while reducing production costs by 57%. The ECS ducts distribute temperature and humidity controlled air onto sensitive avionics equipment during launch and need to withstand strong vibrations. The first Atlas V with these ducts is expected to launch in 2016.
Orbis Flying Eye Hospital aircraft duct: The Flying Eye Hospital is an amazing concept from Orbis, who use a refurbished DC-10 plane to deliver eye care around the world. The plane actually houses all the surgical rooms to conduct operations and also has educational classrooms. The refurbishment posed a particular challenge when it came to air conditioning: a duct had to transfer air over a rigid barrier while maintaining the volume. Due to the required geometric complexity, the team selected FDM and ULTEM to manufacture this duct, and installed it and met with FAA approval. The story is described in more detail in this video.
Supply Complexity: 3D printing has a significant role to play in retro-fitting of components on legacy aircraft. The challenge with maintaining these aircrafts is that often the original manufacturer either no longer is in business or makes the parts.
Airbus Safety belt holder: Airbus shared an interesting case of a safety belt holder that had to be retrofitted for the A310 aircraft. The original supplier made these 30 years ago and since went out of business and rebuilding the molds would cost thousands of dollars and be time-consuming. Airbus decided to use FDM to print these safety belt holders as described in this video. They took a mere 2 hours to design the part from existing drawings, and had the actual part printed and ready for evaluation within a week!
Incidentally, the US Air Force has also recognized this as a critical opportunity to drive down costs and reduce the downtime spent by aircrafts awaiting parts, as indicated by a recent research grant they are funding to enable them to leverage 3D printing for the purpose of improving the availability of parts that are difficult and/or expensive to procure. As of 2014, The Department of Defense (DOD) reported that they have maintenance crews supporting a staggering 31,900 combat vehicles, 239 ships and 16,900 aircraft – and identified 3D printing as a key factor in improving parts availability for these crews.
Cost & Lead-time Reduction: In low-volume, high-value industries such as aerospace, 3D printing has a very strong proposition to make as a technology that will bring products to market faster and cheaper. What is often a surprise is the levels of reduction that can be obtained with 3D printing, as borne out by the three examples below.
Airbus A350 Electric wire covers: The Airbus A350 has several hundred plastic covers that are 3D printed with FDM. These covers are used for housing electric wires at junction boxes. Airbus claims it took 70% less time to make these parts, and the manufacturing costs plunged 80%. See this video for more information.
Kelly Manufacturing Toroid housing: Kelly Manufacturing selected FDM to manufacture toroid housings that are assembled into their M3500 instrument, which is a “turn and bank” indicator which provides the pilot information regarding the rate of aircraft turn. These housings were previously made of urethane castings and required manual sanding to remove artifacts from the casting process, and also had high costs and lead times associated with tooling. Using FDM, they were able to eliminate the need to do sanding and reduced the lead time 93% and also reduced per-piece costs by 5% while eliminating the large tooling costs. See the official case study from Stratasys here.
These examples help demonstrate that 3D printing parts can be a cost savings solution and almost always results in significant lead time reduction – both of vital interest in the increasingly competitive aerospace industry. Further, design freedom offered by 3D printing allows manufacturing geometries that are otherwise impossible or cost prohibitive to make using other processes, and also have enormous benefit in overcoming roadblocks in the supply chain. At the same time, not every part on an aircraft is a suitable candidate for 3D printing. As we have just seen, selection criteria involve the readily quantifiable metrics of part cost and lead time, but also involve less tangible factors such as supply chain complexity, and the design benefits available to additive manufacturing. An additional factor not explicitly mentioned in any of the previous examples is the criticality of the part to the flight and the safety of the crew and passengers on board. All these factors need to be taken into consideration when determining the suitability of the part for 3D printing.
The Chief Science Officer program is a program for 6th-12th grade students to represent their school in STEM. And what better way is there for them to identify themselves then with 3D Printed name badges? The program’s sponsors, the AZ SciTech Festival offer a training retreat for the kids who get elected as their school’s CSO and we all thought introducing design and 3D Printing would be a great activity.
As part of the 2015 Fall CSO Institute, PADT’s Jeff Nichols joined local designer and artist John Drury to spend some time with the kids explaining how to work with logos and shapes to convey an idea, and how to design for 3D Printing. The kids worked out their own design and sent it to PADT for printing.
We converted their sketch into a 3D Model, starting in Adobe Illustrator. The sketch was traced with vector geometry and then a generic name was added. This was then copied 144 times and each name was typed in, with a few extras. This step was the only boring part.
The design worked great because it is a simple extrusion with no need for support material. The outline of their names were exported as DXF from Illustrator and then imported onto the 3D Model and extruded up to make a solid model of a badge. This was then copied to make a badge for each student. Then the names were imported and extruded on the patterned badges.
STL files were then made and sent off to one of our Stratasys FDM 3D Printers. The FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process extrudes an ABS plastic filament, and you can change material during the build. So, to add a bit of contrast, we changed the filament color after the base of the design was done, making the logo and student names stand out. The final results came out really nice.
This project was a lot of fun because we were able to work with the students. They got what John and Jeff taught them and did a great job. We know they will be placed with pride on back backs and jackets across Arizona.
To learn more about the CSO program, visit their website: http://chiefscienceofficers.org/ Check out the blog. Some of these kids can really write well and their insight into Science, Technology, Math, and Education is insightful.
For an engineer, there are certain TV and Movie experiences that border on the religious – Star Wars is of course one of those. That is why PADT’s main office in Tempe closed down today to head down the freeway to the Chandler to see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
Around 370 employees, family members, friends, vendors, former employees, and customers showed up for the 10:00 am showing. We were confident that JJ Abrams would do a great job, because he did so well with an even more important franchise to PADT, Star Trek. We were not disappointed. There were cheers, there was laughter, and several of us confessed in the lobby afterwards that we teared up a bit. A true treat.
I want to thank Josh Heaps here for putting it all together and for dealing with our constantly asking him about when and where it was and how many seats the theater had.
This is also a great venue to thank our customers and vendors for coming and for bringing your families. We don’t get to see many of you often enough, and rarely outside of a meeting or a phone call. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face after the movie was, as they say, worth the price of admission.
May the Force Be With You
If you want to organize similar event to your colleagues, hire team building company in Singapore!
With PADT and the rest of the world getting ready to pile into dark rooms to watch a saga that we’ve been waiting for 10 years to see, I figured I’d take this opportunity to address a common, yet simple, question that we get:
“How do I turn on HPC to use multiple cores when running an analysis?”
For those that don’t know, ANSYS spends a significant amount of resources into making the various solvers it has utilize multiple CPU processors more efficiently than before. By default, depending on the solver, you are able to use between 1-2 cores without needing HPC licenses.
With the utilization of HPC licenses, users can unlock hyperdrive in ANSYS. If you are equipped with HPC licenses it’s just a matter of where to look for each of the ANSYS products to activate it.
Whether or not you are performing a structural, thermal or explicit simulation the process to activate multiple cores is identical.
- Go to Tools > Solve Process Settings
- The Solve Process Settings Window will pop up
- Click on Advanced to open up the Advanced Settings window
- You will see an option for Max number of utilized cores
- Simply change the value to your desired core count
- You will see below an option to allow for GPU acceleration (if your computer is equipped with the appropriate hardware)
- Select the GPU type from the dropdown and choose how many GPUs you want to utilize
- Click Ok and close
Distributed Solve in ANSYS Mechanical
One other thing you’ll notice in the Advanced Settings Window is the option to turn “Distributed” On or Off using the checkbox.
In many cases Distributing a solution can be significantly faster than the opposite (Shared Memory Parallel). It requires that MPI be configured properly (PADT can help guide you through those steps). Please see this article by Eric Miller that references GPU usage and Distributed solve in ANSYS Mechanical
Whether launching Fluent through Workbench or standalone you will first see the Fluent Launcher window. It has several options regarding the project.
- Under the Processing Options you will see 2 options: Serial and Parallel
- Simply select Parallel and you will see 2 new dropdowns
- The first dropdown lets you select the number of processes (equal to the number of cores) to use in not only during Fluent’s calculations but also during pre-processing as well
For CFX simulations through Workbench, the option to activate HPC exists in the Solution Manager
- Open the CFX Solver Manager
- You will see a dropdown for Run Mode
- Rather than the default “Serial” option choose from one of the available “Parallel” options.
- For example, if running on the same machine select Platform MPI Local Parallel
- Once selected in the section below you will see the name of the computer and a column called Partitions
- Simply type the desired number of cores under the Partitions column and then either click “Save Settings” or “Start Run”
ANSYS Electronics Desktop/HFSS/Maxwell
Regardless of which electromagnetic solver you are using: HFSS or Maxwell you can access the ability to change the number of cores by going to the HPC and Analysis Options.
- Go to Tools > Options > HPC and Analysis Options.
- In the window that pops up you will see a summary of the HPC configuration
- Click on Edit and you will see a column for Tasks and a column for Cores.
- Tasks relate to job distribution utilizing Optimetrics and DSO licenses
- To simply increase the number of cores you want to run the simulation on, change the cores column to your desired value
- Click OK on all windows
There you have it. That’s how easy it is to turn on Hyperdrive in the flagship ANSYS products to advance your simulations and get to your endpoint faster than before.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possibility of upgrading your ship with Hyperdrive (HPC capabilities) please feel free to call us at 1-800-293-PADT or email us at email@example.com.
The developers of Flownex have been hard at work again and have put out a fantastic update to Flownex 2015. These additions go far beyond what most simulation programs include in an update, so we thought it was worth a bit of a blog article to share it with everyone. You can also download the full release notes here: FlownexSE 2015 Update 1 – Enhancements and Fixes
A lot went in to this update, much hidden behind the scenes in the forms of code improvements and fixes. There are also a slew of major new or enhanced features worth mentioning.
Shared Company Database
One of the great things about Flownex is that you can create modeling objects that you drag and drop into your system model. Now you can share those components, fluids, charts, compounds, and default settings across your company, department, or group. There is no limit on the number of databases that are shared and access can be controlled. This will allow users to reuse information across your company.
Static Pressure Boundary Conditions
In the past Flownex always used a total pressure boundary condition. Based on user requests, this update includes a new boundary condition object that allows the user to specify the static pressure as a boundary condition. This is useful because many tests of real hardware only provide static pressure. It is also a common boundary condition in typical rotational flow fields in turbo machinery secondary flow.
Another turbo machinery request was the ability to break cavities up into several radial zones, giving a more accurate pressure distribution in secondary flow applications for Rotor-Rotor and Rotor-Stator cavities. These subdivisions can be automatically created in the radial direction by Flownex.
Excel Input Sheets and Parameter Tables
The connection between Microsoft Excel and Flownex has always been strong and useful, and it just get even better. So many people were connecting cells to their Flownex model parameters that the developers decided to directly connect the two programs so the user no longer has to establish data connection links. Now an properties in Flownex can be hooked to a cell in Excel.
The next thing users wanted was the ability to work with tables of parameters, so that was added as well. The user can hook a table of values in Excel to Flownex parameters and then have Flownex solve for the whole table, even returning resulting parameters. This makes parametric studies driven from Excel simple and powerful.
Users can now create component defaults and save them in a library. This saves time because in the past the user had to specify the parameters for a given component. Now thy just drag and job the existing defaults into their model.
Compound components have also been enhanced by the development team so you no loner have to restart Flownex when you move, export, or import a compound component.
Find Based on Property Values
Users can now search through properties on all the objects in their model based on the value assigned to those properties. As an example, you can type > 27.35 to get a list of all properties with an assigned value that is larger than 27.35. This saves time because the user no longer has to look through properties or remember what properties were assigned.
Network Creation through Programming
Users can now write programs through the API or scripting tool to build their network models. This will allow companies to create vertical applications or automate the creation of complex networks based on user input. Of all the enhancements in this update, this improvement has the potential to deliver the greatest productivity improvements.
Automatic Elevations Importing in GIS
Users who are specifying flow networks over real terrain can now pull elevation data from the internet, rather than requiring that the data be defined when the network is specified. This enhancement will greatly speed up the modeling of large fluid-thermal systems, especially when part of the simulation process is moving components of the system over terrain.
Multiple Fluid Interface Component
A very common requirement in fluid-thermal systems is the ability to model different fluids or fluid types and how they interact. With this update users can now model two separate fluid networks and define a coupling between the two. The mass balance and resulting pressure at the interface is maintained.
Static Condition Calculation Improvements
Many simulation require an accurate calculation of static pressures. To do this, the upstream and downstream areas and equivalent pipe diameters are needed to obtain the proper values. Many components now allow upstream and downstream areas to be defined, including restrictors and nozzles.
The ability to create a scale 2-Dimensional drawing was added to Flownex. The user can easily add components onto an existing scaled drawing that is used as a background image in Flownex. These components will automatically detect and input lengths based on the drawing scale and distance between nodes. This results in much less time and effort spent setting up larger models where actual geometric sizes are important.
How do I Try this Out?
As you can see by the breadth and depth of enhancements, Flownex is a very capable tool that delivers on user needs. Written and maintained by a consulting company that uses the tool every day, it has that rare mix of detailed theory and practical application that most simulation engineers crave. If you model fluid-thermal systems, or feel you should be simulating your systems, contact Brian Duncan at 480.813.4884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can do a quick demo over the internet and learn more about what your simulation needs are. Even if you are using a different tool, you should look at Flownex, it is an great tool.
Making injection molding tools using 3D Printing has been a long term goal for the industry. I knew the technology had advanced recently, but was really not aware how far it had come until I attended two seminars in Utah on the subject. In this post I’ll share what I learned, and share some content that goes into greater detail.
The reason for my update on this subject was a visit to PADT’s Utah office. Our two people there, Anthony Wagoner (sales) and James Barker (engineering), told me they were doing a seminar on injection molding and I should go. I figured why not, I’m in town. Maybe I’ll meet a couple of customers. Almost 30 people showed up to the Salt Lake Community College Injection Molding lab for the event. Gil Robinson from Stratasys presented a fantastic overview (included in the download package) on where the technology is, how to apply it, and gave some great real world examples. There were some fantastic questions as well which allowed us to really explore the technology
Then the best part happened when we walked into the shop and saw parts being made right there on the machine. They had recently printed a tool and were shooting polypropylene parts while we were in the classroom next door. During the hour long presentation, Richard Savage from ICU Medical was able to fine-tune the injection molding machine and good parts were popping out. As you can imagine, what followed next was they type of discussion would expect with a room full of injection molding people. “What material? How hot? What pressure? What is the cooling time? Do you use compressed air to cool it? Not a lot of flash, how hard are you clamping it? These features here, what draft did you need?” Good stuff. I got caught up in everything and forgot to grab some pictures.
I learned so much at that event that I decided to head north along the Wasatch Range to Clearfield and the Davis Applied Technology College. About the same number of people were able to make it from medical, aerospace, and consumer products companies in Northern Utah. Gil presented the same material, but this time we got some different questions so I learned a bit more about material options and some other lessons learned.
Then we visited their lab where I did remember to take some pictures:
Here is a shot of different shots that Jonathan George from DATC did to dial in the parameters. It took him about an hour, not bad for the first time using a 3D Printed tool.
The part is actually a clam shell assembly for Christmas lights, in the shape of a snow flake. Here is what they look like on the tree itself.
And here is a video they made showing the process. He was able to get 950 shots out of the tool.
In talking to attendees at both events I learned of several great applications that they were going to try, varying from medical devices for clinical trials to making rubber masking tools for surface treatments. The injection molding community in Utah is very sophisticated and forward thinking.
What I Learned
I’ll spare you the details on what we had for dinner Monday night for the Utah office holiday celebration and jump right in to what I learned.
- For the right applications, you can get some very nice parts from 3D Printed tools
- You do need to take the process in to account and oriented the tools facing upward in the machine, add a bit more draft than usual, and keep your pressures and temperature down when compared to metal tools.
- For some parts, you can get over 1,000 shots from a tool, but most poeple are getting a couple of hundred parts.
- As with any injection molding, the magic is in the tool design and setting up the right parameters on the injection molding press.
- Tricky parts can be made by using metal inserts
- Some machining may be required on your 3D printed tool to get it just right, but that is mostly reaming holes for ejector pins and metal inserts
- Plastic is an insulator (duh) so plastic tools have to be cooled more slowly and with air.
- Conformal cooling is a great idea, but some work still needs to be done to get it to work.
- The mold usually fails during part ejection, so using mold release, good draft, and proper design can reduce the loading during ejection and get more parts from the tool.
- The material of choice for this is DigitalABS on Stratasys Connex Machines.
There was a ton more, and you can find most of it in the download package.
The big take-away from both events was that this technology works and it really does allow you to create an injection molding tool in a couple of hours on a 3D Printer. In the time it normally takes to just get the order figured out for a machined tool (RFQ, Quote, Iterate, PO, etc…) you can have your parts.
Interested in trying this out yourself or learning more? We have put together an injection molding package with the following content:
- Polyjet Injection Molding Application Brief
- 18 Page Polyjet Injection Molding Technical Guide
- 12 Page White Paper: Precision Prototyping – The Role of 3D Printed Molds in the Injection Molding Industry
- 3D Printed Injection Molding Application Guide from PADT and Stratasys
- Presentation from Seminars
- List of Relevant Videos
- Four Real World Case Studies
- Link List for Other Resources on the Web
We have spent some time putting all this information in one place and put it into one convenient ZIP file. Please click here to download this very useful content.
PADT is pleased to announce that we have uploaded a new ACT Extension to the ANSYS ACT App Store. This new extension implements a PID based thermostat boundary condition that can be used within a transient thermal simulation. This boundary condition is quite general purpose in nature. For example, it can be setup to use any combination of (P)roportional (I)ntegral or (D)erivate control. It supports locally monitoring the instantaneous temperature of any piece of geometry within the model. For a piece of geometry that is associated with more than one node, such as an edge or a face, it uses a novel averaging scheme implemented using constraint equations so that the control law references a single temperature value regardless of the reference geometry.
The set-point value for the controller can be specified in one of two ways. First, it can be specified as a simple table that is a function of time. In this scenario, the PID ACT Extension will attempt to inject or remove energy from some location on the model such that a potentially different location of the model tracks the tabular values. Alternatively, the PID thermostat boundary condition can be set up to “follow” the temperature value of a portion of the model. This location again can be a vertex, edge or face and the ACT extension uses the same averaging scheme mentioned above for situations in which more than one node is associated with the reference geometry. Finally, an offset value can be specified so that the set point temperature tracks a given location in the model with some nonzero offset.
For thermal models that require some notion of control the PID thermostat element can be used effectively. Please do note, however, that the extension works best with the SI units system (m-kg-s).