All Things Ansys 058: Combining Mechanical Simulation with Additive Manufacturing

 

Published on: March 9th, 2020
With: Eric Miller, Matt Humrick & Pam Waterman
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by 3D Printing Applications Engineer Pamela Waterman and Advatech Pacific’s Engineering Manager Matt Humrick for a discussion on real world applications for topology optimization, and it’s value when it comes to creating parts though additive manufacturing.

If you would like to learn more about this topic and what Advatech Pacific is doing, you can download our case study covering these topics here: https://bit.ly/38Bqu2b

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

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GrabCAD Print Software, Part Two: Simplify Set-ups, Save Time, and Do Cool Stuff You Hadn’t Even Considered

You haven’t really lived in the world of 3D printing until you’ve had a part fail spectacularly due to open faces, self-intersecting faces or inverted normals. Your part ends up looking more like modern art than technical part. Or perhaps the design you have in mind has great geometry but you wish that some parts could have regions that are dense and strong while other regions would work with minimal infill.

In Part One of this blog post about GrabCAD Print software, we covered the basics of setting up and printing a part; now we’ll look at several of the advanced features that save you set-up time and result in better parts.

Behind the Scenes Repairs

Stratasys GrabCAD Print software, available as a free download, is crafted for users setting up solid models for 3D printing on Stratasys FDM and PolyJet printers. Once you’ve started using it, you’ll find one of its many useful advanced features is the automated STL file-repair option.

Most people still create solid models in CAD software then convert the file to the industry-standard STL format before opening it in a given 3D printer’s own set-up software. Every CAD package works a little differently to generate an STL file, and once in a while the geometry just doesn’t get perfectly meshed. Triangles may overlap, triangles may end up very long and very skinny, or the vector that signals “point in” or “point out” can get reversed.

Imported STL file, with GrabCAD Print ready to automatically repair errors. PADT image.

Imported STL file, with GrabCAD Print ready to automatically repair errors. PADT image.

Traditionally, the 3D printer set-up program reacts to these situations by doing one of two things: it prints exactly what you tell it to print (producing weird holes and shifted layers) or it simply refuses to print at all. Both situations are due to tiny errors in the conversion of a solid CAD model to a tessellated surface.

GrabCAD Print, however, gives your file a once-over and immediately flags sections of the model in need of repair. You can see a color-coded representation of all the problem areas, choose to view just some or all, and then click on Automatic Repair. No hand-editing, no counting layers and identifying sections where the problems reside – just a click of the virtual button and all the problem regions are identified, repaired and ready for the next processing steps.

CAD vs. STL: Do So Much More with CAD

GrabCAD Print also uniquely allows users to bring in their models in the original CAD file-format (from SolidWorks, Autodesk, PTC, Siemens, etc.) or neutral formats, with no need to first convert it to STL. For FDM users, this means GrabCAD recognizes actual CAD bodies, faces, and features, letting you make build-modifications directly in the print set-up stage that previously would have required layer-by-layer slice editing, or couldn’t have been done at all.

For example, with a little planning ahead, you can bring in a multi-body CAD model (i.e., an assembly), merge the parts, and direct GrabCAD to apply different parameters to each body. This way you can reinforce some areas at full density then change the infill pattern, layout, and density in other regions where full strength is unnecessary.

Here’s an example of a SolidWorks model intended for printing with a solid lower base but lighter weight (saving material) in the upper sections. It’s a holder for Post-It® notes, comprising three individual parts – lower base, upper base and upper slot – combined and saved as an assembly.

Sample multi-body part ready to bring into GrabCAD Advanced FDM. Image PADT.

Sample multi-body part ready to bring into GrabCAD Advanced FDM. Image PADT.

Here was my workflow:

1 – I brought the assembly into GrabCAD and merged all the bodies, selected an F370 Stratasys FDM printer, chose Print Settings of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and 0.005 inches layer height, and oriented the part.

2 -To ensure strength in the lower base, I selected that section (you can do this either in the model tree or on the part itself) and opened the Selection Settings menu at the right. Under Body>Advanced, I chose Solid Infill and slid Rigidity to High.

3 – Then I selected the upper base, chose Hexagram, and changed the Infill Density to 60%.

4 – Lastly, I selected the upper slot section, chose Single Dense, and changed the Infill Density to 35%.

5 – With all three sections defined, I clicked on Slice Preview, sliced the model and used the slider bar on the left to step through each section’s toolpath. For the screenshots, I turned off showing Support Material; the yellow bits indicate where seams start (another parameter that can be edited).

Here is each section highlighted, with screenshots of the parameter choices and how the part infill looks when sliced:

Lower base set up in GrabCAD to print Solid; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT.

Lower base set up in GrabCAD to print Solid; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT.
Upper base set up in GrabCAD to print as Hexagram pattern, 60% infill; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT

Upper base set up in GrabCAD to print as Hexagram pattern, 60% infill; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT.
Upper slot section set up in GrabCAD to print as Single Dense pattern, 35% infill; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT.

Upper slot section set up in GrabCAD to print as Single Dense pattern, 35% infill; sliced toolpath shown at right. Image PADT.

So that you can really see the differences, I printed the part four times, stopping as the infill got partway through each section, then letting the final part print to completion. Here are the three partial sections, plus my final part:

Lower base (solid), upper base (hexagram) and first part of upper slot (single dense), done as partial prints. Image PADT.

Lower base (solid), upper base (hexagram) and first part of upper slot (single dense), done as partial prints. Image PADT.
Completed note-holder set up in GrabCAD Print, Advanced FDM mode, weighted toward the bottom but light-weighted internally. Image PADT.

Completed note-holder set up in GrabCAD Print, Advanced FDM mode, weighted toward the bottom but light-weighted internally. Image PADT.

Automated Hole Sizing Simplifies Adding Inserts

But like the old advertisements say, “But wait – there’s more!” Do you use heat-set inserts a lot to create secure connections between 3D printed parts and metal hardware? Planning ahead for the right hole size, especially if you have different design groups involved and fasteners may not yet be decided, this is the feature for you.

Sample part set up for easy insert additions, using Advanced FDM in GrabCAD Print. Image PADT.

Sample part set up for easy insert additions, using Advanced FDM in GrabCAD Print. Image PADT.

In your CAD part model, draw a hole that is centered where you know the insert will go, give it a nominal diameter and use Cut/Extrude so that the hole is at least the depth of your longest candidate insert. Now bring your part into GrabCAD Advanced FDM (soon all these features will be available in a single Model Interface) and go to Selection Settings in the right-hand menu.

This time, click on Face (not Body) and Select the inner cylindrical wall of your hole. Several options will become active, including Apply Insert. When you check that box, a new drop-down will appear, giving you the choice of adding a heat-set insert, a helicoil insert or a custom size. Below that you select either Inch or Metric, and for either, the appropriate list of standard insert sizes appears.

Automatic hole-resizing in GrabCAD Print, for a specific, standard heat-set insert. Image PADT.

Automatic hole-resizing in GrabCAD Print, for a specific, standard heat-set insert. Image PADT.

Choose the insert you want, click Update in the upper middle of the GrabCAD screen, and you’ll see the hole-size immediately changed (larger or smaller as needed). The new diameter will match the required oversized dimensions for the correct (melted into place) part-fit. You can even do this in a sidewall! (For tips on putting inserts into FDM parts, particularly with a soldering iron, see Adding Inserts to 3D Printed Parts: Hardware Tips.)

Note that this way, you can print the overall part with a sparse infill, yet reinforce the area around the insert to create just the right mass to make a solid connection.

Manufacturing notes automatically created in GrabCAD Print when insert holes are resized. Image PADT.

Manufacturing notes automatically created in GrabCAD Print when insert holes are resized. Image PADT.
Sliced view showing insert holes with reinforced walls, done in GrabCAD Print. Image PADT.

Sliced view showing insert holes with reinforced walls, done in GrabCAD Print. Image PADT.

To document the selected choices for whoever will be doing the insert assembly, GrabCAD also generates a numbered, manufacturing-footnote that lists each insert’s size; this information can be exported as a PDF file that includes a separate close-up image of each insert’s location.

GrabCAD Print keeps adding very useful functions. Download it for free and try it out with template versions of the various Stratasys 3D printers, then email or call us to learn more.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Stratasys printers and materials, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

Press Release: 3D Printing Glossary Now Available from PADT Provides Most Comprehensive Online Resource for Additive Manufacturing Terminology

3DPrinting-Glossary.com Covers Everything from Machines and Materials to Pre- and Post-Processing Terms

After searching the internet for a resource you can’t find, have you ever sat at your desk and said to yourself “I wish someone would take the time to create this. I could really use it.” Here at PADT, we have been saying that for many years about the need for a comprehensive reference on the terms used in Additive Manufacturing. Then we realized that the only way to get it done was to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves. And so we did.

The result is www.3DPrinting-Glossary.com

This free online resource contains over 250 terms with definitions for each one. We write each definition and reviewed it amongst our team of long term users of Additive Manufacturing. After over 25 years in the business, we should know the difference between direct laser melting and selective laser sintering. And even if we are off a little, it is a start and we encourage the community to send us corrections, recommendations, and especially new terms to add to this compendium.

The site is free for use, and the contents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This allows anyone to use the content how they wish as long as they say where it came from and don’t make money directly off of it.

Check it out and let us know what you think. More details are below in the official Press Release, which you can also find in PDF and HTML.

And do not hesitate to contact PADT for any of your Additive Manufacturing, Product Development, or Simulation needs. The same expertise that went into creating this resource is applied to every project we work on and every product we sell.


3D Printing Glossary Now Available from PADT Provides Most Comprehensive Online Resource for Additive Manufacturing Terminology

3DPrinting-Glossary.com Covers Everything from Machines and Materials to Pre- and Post-Processing Terms

TEMPE, Ariz., March 3, 2020 PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced the launch of the most comprehensive online Glossary of industry terms relevant to additive manufacturing. The new site, www.3dprinting-glossary.com, includes more than 250 definitions in nine different categories.

“In addition to being an outstanding partner to our customers, PADT strives to be a trusted advisor on all things additive manufacturing,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “Our goal for the glossary is to help educate the community on the evolving terminology in our industry and serve as a critical resource for students and professionals seeking 3D printing knowledge and clarification.”

The company has been a provider of additive manufacturing services since 1994. They are also a Stratasys Platinum Partner that has sold and supported Stratasys equipment in the Southwest for over fifteen years. Many of their employees are recognized and award-winning experts in the AM community.

The creation of PADT’s 3D Printing Glossary was the result of a companywide effort to gather and define the terms used in the industry daily. The user-friendly website allows visitors to search for terms directly or by category. PADT will continue to support and update the glossary as the industry grows and innovates.

The nine glossary categories include:

  • Additive Manufacturing Processes
  • Build Characteristics
  • General
  • Manufacturing Term
  • Material
  • Post-Processing
  • Pre-Processing
  • Product Definition
  • System Characteristic

Since founding PADT in 1994, the company’s leadership has made a great effort to become more than just a reseller or service provider.  They want to be a resource to the community. In addition to investing in entrepreneurs, serving on technology boards and committees, and speaking at industry events, PADT donates a great deal of money, time and resources to STEM-focused educational initiatives. The 3D Printing Glossary is another resource that PADT has created for the benefit of students as well as up and coming professionals in the engineering and manufacturing industry.

PADT is also asking the community to contribute to this effort If users notice a term is missing, disagree with the definition, or have more to add to the definition, they ask that readers email additions or changes to info@padtinc.com.

About PADT

PADT is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 90 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

Media contact: Alec Robertson Brodeur Partners arobertson@brodeur.com 585-281-6399

Organization Contact:
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
eric.miller@padtinc.com
480-813-4884

All Things ANSYS 057: Simulation for Additive Manufacturing in ANSYS 2020 R1

 

Published on: February 24th, 2020
With: Eric Miller & Doug Oatis
Description:  

In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by Lead Mechanical Engineer Doug Oatis for a discussion on the latest advancements in simulation for additive manufacturing and topology optimization in ANSYS 2020 R1.

If you would like to learn more about what this release is capable of, check out our webinar on the topic here:

https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/384528

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

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Additive Manufacturing & Topology Optimization in ANSYS 2020 R1 – Webinar

ANSYS offers a complete simulation workflow for additive manufacturing (AM) that allows you to transition your R&D efforts for metal additive manufacturing into a successful manufacturing operation. This best-in-class solution for additive manufacturing enables simulation at every step in your AM process. It will help you optimize material configurations and machine and parts setup before you begin to print. As a result, you’ll greatly reduce — and potentially eliminate — the physical process of trial-and- error testing.

ANSYS additive solutions continue to evolve at a rapid pace. A variety of new enhancements and features come as part of ANSYS 2020 R1, including the ability to work with EOS printers, using the inherent strain approach in ANSYS Workbench Additive, and new materials in ANSYS Additive Print and Science.

Join PADT’s Lead Mechanical Engineer Doug Oatis for an exploration of the ANSYS tools that help to optimize additive manufacturing, and what new capabilities are available for them when upgrading to ANSYS 2020 R1. This presentation includes updates regarding:

  • Level-set topology optimization
  • Density based topology optimization
  • Inherent strain method in workbench Additive
  • Improved supports in Additive Prep
  • Additive Wizard update
  • And much more

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

GrabCAD Print Software: Part One, an Introduction

Where are you on your New Year’s resolutions? They often include words such as “simplify,” “organize” and “streamline.” They can be timely reminders to rethink how you do things in both your personal and professional lives, so why not rethink the software you use in 3D Printing?

Preparing a CAD solid model or an STL file to print on a 3D printer requires using set-up software that is typically unique to each printer’s manufacturer. For Flashforge equipment, you use FlashPrint, for Makerbot systems you use MakerBot Print, for Formlabs printers you use PreForm, and so on.

GrabCAD Print software for setting up STL or CAD files to print on Stratasys 3D printers (main screen).
GrabCAD Print software for setting up STL or CAD files to print on Stratasys 3D printers (main screen). Image courtesy PADT.

For printers from industrial 3D printing company Stratasys, the go-to software is GrabCAD Print (along with GrabCAD Print Mobile), developed for setting up both fused deposition modeling (FDM) and PolyJet technologies in new and efficient ways. Often just called GrabCAD, this versatile software package lets you organize and control prints assigned to one of more than 30 printer models, so the steps you learn for one printer transfer directly over to working with other models.

If you’ve previously used Stratasys Catalyst (on Dimension and uPrint printers), you’ll find similarities with GrabCAD, as well as some enhanced functionality. If you’re accustomed to the fine details of Stratasys Insight, you’ll see that GrabCAD provides similar capabilities in a streamlined interface, plus powerful new features made possible only by the direct import of native CAD files.  Additionally, you can access Insight within GrabCAD, combining the best of both traditional and next-generation possibilities.

Simple by Default, Powerful by Choice

GrabCAD lets users select simplified default settings throughout, with more sophisticated options available at every turn. Here are the general steps for print-file preparation, done on your desktop, laptop or mobile device:

1 – Add Models: Click-and-drag files or open them from File Explorer. All standard CAD formats are supported, including SolidWorks, Autodesk, Siemens and PTC, as well as STL. You can also bring in assemblies of parts and multi-body models, choosing whether to print them assembled or not. (Later we’ll also talk about what you can do with a CAD file that you can’t do with an STL.)

2 – Select Printer: Choose from a drop-down menu to find whatever printer(s) is networked to your computer. You can also experiment using templates for printers you don’t yet own, in order to compare build volumes and print times.

3 – Orient/Rotate/Scale Model: Icons along the right panel guide you through placing your model or models on the build platform, letting you rotate them around each axis, choose a face to orient as desired, and scale the part up or down. You can also right-click to copy and paste multiple models, then edit each one separately, move them around, and delete them as desired.

4 – Tray Settings: This icon leads to the menu with choices such as available materials, slice height options, build style (normal or draft), and more; always targeted to the selected printer. These choices apply to all the parts on the tray or build sheet.

5 – Model Settings: Here’s where you choose infill style, infill density (via slider bar), infill angle, and body thickness (also known as shell thickness) per part. Each part can have different choices.

6 – Support Settings: These all have defaults, so you don’t even have to consider them if you don’t have special needs (but it’s where, for example, you would change the self-supporting angle).

7 – Show Slice Preview: Clicking this icon slices the model and gives you the choice to view layers/tool paths individually, watch a video animation, or even set a Z-height pause if you plan on changing filament color or adding embedded hardware.

8 – Print: You’re ready to hit the Print button, sending the prepared file to the printer’s queue.

Scheduling Your Print, and Tracking Print Progress

A clock-like icon on the left-side GrabCAD panel (the second one down, or third if you’ve activated Advanced FDM features) switches the view to the Scheduler. In this mode, you can see a day/time tracking bar for every printer on the network. All prints are queued in the order sent, and the visuals make it easy to see when one will finish and another start (assuming human intervention for machine set-up and part removal, of course).

Scheduling panel in GrabCAD Print, showing status of files printing on multiple 3D printers.
Scheduling panel in GrabCAD Print, showing status of files printing on multiple 3D printers. Image courtesy PADT.

If you click on the bar representing a part being built, a new panel slides in from the right with detailed information about material type, support type, start time, expected finish time and total material used (cubic inches or grams). For printers with an on-board camera, you can even get an updated snapshot of the part as it’s building in the chamber.

Below the Scheduler icon is the History button. This is a great tool for creating weekly, monthly or yearly reports of printer run-time and material consumption, again for each printer on the network. Within a given build, you’ll even see the files names of the individual parts within that job.

Separately, if you’re not operating the software offline (an option that some companies require), you can enable GrabCAD Print Reports. This function generates detailed graphs and summaries covering printer utilization and overall material use across multiple printers and time periods – very powerful information for groups that need to track efficiencies and expenditures.

And That’s Just the Beginning

Once you decide to experiment with these settings, you begin to see the power of GrabCAD Print for FDM systems. We haven’t even touched on the automated repairs for STL files, PolyJet’s possibilities for colors, transparency and blended materials, or the options for setting up a CAD model so that sub-sections print with different properties.

For example, you’ll see how planning ahead allows you to bring in a multi-body CAD model and have GrabCAD identify and reinforce some areas at full density, while changing the infill pattern, layout, and density in other regions. GrabCAD recognizes actual CAD bodies and faces, letting you make build-modifications that previously would have required layer-by-layer slice editing, or couldn’t have been done at all.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, GrabCAD Print Software, Part Two: Simplify Set-ups, Save Time, and Do Cool Stuff You Hadn’t Even Considered, and reach out to us to learn more about downloading and using GrabCAD Print.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Stratasys printers and materials, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

Introducing the Stratasys J826 – Full-color, multi-material printing for the enterprise design world

Taking risks attempting to capture design intent at the end of the process requires a lot of post-processing (coloring, assemblies, a mix of technologies, etc.) – when its too time consuming, expensive and late to make changes or correct errors. Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology is developed to elevate designs by realizing ideas more quickly and more accurately and taking color copies to the next level.

By putting realistic models in a designer’s hands earlier in the process, companies can promote better decisions and a superior final product. Now, with the Stratasys J8 Series, the same is true for prototypes. This tried and tested technology simplifies the entire design process, streamlining workflows so you can spend more time on what matters –creating, refining, and designing the best product possible.

PADT is excited to introduce the new Stratasys J826 3D printer 

Based on J850 technology, the J826 supplies the same end-to-end solution for the design process and ultra-realistic simulation at a lower price point.
Better communicate design intent and drive more confident results with prototypes that realistically portray an array of design alternatives.

The Stratasys J826 3D Printer is able to deliver realism, shorter time to market, and streamlined application thanks to a variety of unique attributes that set it apart from most other Polyjet printers:

  • High Quality – The J826 can accurately print smaller features at a layer thickness of 14µm to 27µm. As part of the J8 series of printers it is also capable of printing in ultra-realistic Pantone validated colors.
  • Speed & Productivity – Three printing speed modes (high speed, high quality & high mix) allows the J826 to always operate at the most efficient speed for each print. It can also avoid unnecessary down-time associate with material changeovers thanks to it’s built-in material cabinet and workstation.
  • Easy to Use – A smooth workflow with the J826 comes from simple integration with the CAD format of your choice, as well as a removable tray for easy clean up, and automated support creation and removal.

Are you ready to learn how the new Stratasys J826 provides the same quality and accuracy as other J8 series printers at a lower cost?

Provide the requested information via the form linked below and one of PADT’s additive experts will reach out to share more on what makes this new offering so exciting for the enterprise design world.

Start a Conversation

New Awards and Fantastic Winners: 2019 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation does not Disappoint

Way back in 2011, PADT participated in our first Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, or GCOI. We actually won the award for being a Pioneer that year, and we also started making custom awards with our 3D Printing systems. And every year we get to see friends, customers, and partners take a PADT original home. 2019 was no different.

You can read about the event in the Phoenix Business Journal here.

This year FreeFall Aerospace was won the Innovation Award for startups. They are part of the ANSYS Startup program and someone we really enjoy working with. In addition, Qwick won the Judges award. They are a local software startup that we have interacted with through our mentoring and angel investing activities.

This year’s awards came out nice, combining PolyJet and Stereolithography to make a kinetic sculpture:

We were pleased to watch these being handed out to eight winners. The Tucson winners, half of those recognized, were happy to show their’s off:

New Options for 3D Printing with Nylon Filament, Including Diran

NOTE 10/28/2019: See updated information regarding Diran extruder heads, below.

Does the idea of 3D printing parts in semi-aromatic polyamides (PA) sound intriguing? Too bad it has nothing to do with making nicely scented models – but it has everything to do with reaping the benefits of the Nylon family’s molecular ring structure. Nylon 6, Nylon 12, carbon-filled Nylon 12 and now a new, smoother Nylon material called Diran each offer material properties well-suited for additive manufacturing on industrial 3D printers. Have you tried Holden’s Screen Supply? It has the emulsions and reclaimers needed for screen printing.

Stratasys Nylon 12 Battery Box
3D printed Nylon 12 Battery Box. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

Quick chemistry lesson: in polyamides, amine sub-groups containing nitrogen link up with carbon, oxygen and hydrogen in a ring structure; most end up with a strongly connected, semi-crystalline layout that is key to their desirable behaviors. The number of carbon atoms per molecule is one way in which various Nylons (poly-amines) differentiate themselves, and gives rise to the naming process.

Now on to the good stuff. PA thermoplastics are known for strength, abrasion-resistance and chemical stability – useful material properties that have been exploited since Nylon’s discovery at Du Pont in 1935. The first commercial Nylon application came in 1938, when Dr. West’s Miracle Tuft Toothbrush closed the book on boar’s-hair bristle use and let humans gently brush their teeth with Nylon 6 (then called “Exton”) fibers.

Today’s Nylon characteristics translate well to filament-form for printing with Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) production-grade systems. Here’s a look at properties and typical applications for Nylon 6, Nylon 12, Nylon 12 CF (carbon-fiber filled) and Diran (the newest in the Stratasys Nylon material family), as we see their use here at PADT.

When Flexibility Counts

Nylon 12 became the first Stratasys PA offering, filling a need for customized parts with high fatigue resistance, strong chemical resistance, and just enough “give” to support press (friction-fit) inserts and repetitive snap-fit closures. Users in aerospace, automotive and consumer-goods industries print Nylon 12 parts for everything from tooling, jigs and fixtures to container covers, side-panels and high vibration-load components.

3D Printed Nylon 12 bending example. (Image courtesy Stratasys)
3D Printed Nylon 12 bending example. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

Nylon 12 is the workhorse of the manufacturing world, supporting distortion without breaking and demonstrating a high elongation at break. Its ultimate tensile strength in XZ part orientation (the strongest orientation) is 6,650 psi (46 MPa), while elongation at break is 30 percent. Users can load Nylon 12 filament onto a Stratasys Fortus 380mc CF, 450mc or 900mc system.

As evidenced by the toothbrush renaissance, Nylon 6 has been a popular thermoplastic for more than 80 years. Combining very high strength with toughness, Nylon 6 is great for snap-fit parts (middle range of flexing/stiffness) and for impact resistance; it is commonly used for things that need to be assembled, offering a clean surface finish for part mating.

Nylon 6 displays an XZ ultimate tensile strength of 9,800 psi (67.6 MPa) and elongation at break of 38%; it is available on the F900 printer. PADT customer MTD Southwest has recently used Nylon 6 to prototype durable containers with highly curved geometries, for testing with gasoline/ethanol blends that would destroy most other plastics.

Prototype gas-tank made of Nylon 6, printed on a Stratasys system, using soluble support. (Image courtesy MTD Southwest)
Prototype gas-tank made of Nylon 6, printed on a Stratasys system, using soluble support. (Image courtesy MTD Southwest)

Both Nylon 12 and Nylon 6 come as black filament that prints in tandem with a soluble brown support material called SR-110. Soluble supports make a huge difference in allowing parts with internal structures and complicated overhangs to be easily 3D printed and post-processed.

Getting Stronger and Smoother

As with these first two PA versions, Nylon 12CF prints as a black filament and uses SR-110 soluble material for support; unlike those PAs, Nylon 12CF is loaded at 35 percent by weight with chopped carbon fibers averaging 150 microns in length. This fiber/resin combination produces a material with the highest flexural strength of all the FDM Nylons, as well as the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Nylon 12 CF (carbon-filled) 3D printed part, designed as a test brake unit. (Image courtesy Stratasys)
Nylon 12 CF (carbon-fiber filled) 3D printed part, designed as a test brake unit. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

That strength shows up in Nylon 12 CF as a high ultimate XZ tensile strength of 10,960 psi (75.6 MPa), however, similar to other fiber-reinforced materials, the elongation at break is lower than for its unfilled counterpart (1.9 percent). Since the material doesn’t yield, just snaps, the compressive strength is given as the ultimate value, at 9,670 psi (67 MPa).

Nylon 12 CF’s strength and stiffness make it a great choice for lightweight fixtures. It also offers electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection properties better than that of Stratasys’ ABS ESD7, yet is still not quite conductive, if that is important for the part’s end-use. (For more details on printing with Nylon 12 CF, see Seven Tips for 3D Printing with Nylon 12 CF.) The material runs on the Fortus 380mc CF, 450mc or 900mc systems.

Just announced this month, Stratasys’ Diran filament (officially Diran 410MF07) is another black Nylon-based material; it, too, features an infill but not of fibers – instead there is a mineral component listed at seven percent by weight. This filler produces a material whose smooth, lubricious surface offers low sliding resistance (new vocabulary word: lubricious, meaning slippery, with reduced friction; think “lube job” or lubricant).

Robot-arm end printed in Diran, a smooth Nylon-based filament. (Image courtesy Stratasys)
Robot-arm end printed in Diran, a smooth Nylon-based filament. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

This smooth surface makes Diran parts perfect for applications needing a non-marring interface between a tool and a workpiece; for example, a jig or fixture that requires a part to be slid into place rather than just set down. It resists hydrocarbon-based chemicals, displays an ultimate tensile strength of 5,860 psi (40 MPa), and has a 12 percent elongation at break.

Close-up of Diran's smooth surface finish. (Image courtesy Stratasys)
Close-up of Diran’s smooth surface finish. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

(Revised) For the first time, Diran also brings the benefits of Nylon to users of the Stratasys office-environment, plug-and-play F370 printer. The system works with the new material using the same extruder heads as for ABS, ASA and PC-ABS, with just a few material-specific requirements. 

To keep thermal expansion consistent across a model and any necessary supports, parts set up for Diran automatically use model material as support. A new, breakaway SUP4000B material comes into play as an interface layer, simplifying support removal. The higher operating temperature also requires a different build tray, but the material’s lubricious properties (just had to use that word again) make for easy part removal and allow that tray to be reused dozens of times.

Read more about this intriguing material on the Diran datasheet:

and contact PADT to request a sample part of Diran or any of these useful Nylon materials.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Stratasys printers and materials, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

All Things ANSYS 048: Topology Optimization & Simulation for Additive Manufacturing in ANSYS 2019 R3

 

Published on: October 7th, 2019
With: Eric Miller & Doug Oatis
Description:  

In this episode, your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s simulation support & application engineer Doug Oatis for a discussion on what is new in ANSYS 2019 R3 with regards to tools and applications for topology optimization and additive manufacturing.

If you would like to learn more about what’s new in this latest release, check out our webinar on the topic here: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/372133?

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at podcast@padtinc.com we would love to hear from you!

Listen:
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@ANSYS #ANSYS

Mars, Hearts, Spaceships, and Universities: 2019 Colorado Additive Manufacturing Day a Success

Engineers, educators, and enthusiasts gathered on the green lawn of beside the Platte River at the Blind Faith Brewing to talk about Additive Manufacturing. Over 170 attendees (and two dogs) met each other, caught up with old colleagues, and shared their AM journey during the breaks and listened to 13 presenters and panelists. 12 antipasto platters and 30 pizzas were consumed, and 298 beers or sodas were imbibed. By the numbers and by type of interaction we saw, a successful event all around.

This was the fourth annual gathering, hosted by PADT and sponsored by our partners at this brewery. We could not have put this event on without the support of Stratasys, ANSYS, ZEISS, and Desktop Metal. We also want to thank our promotional partners, Women in 3D Printing and Space for Humanity who both brought new people to our community. Carbon, Visser and a student project with Ball Aerospace did their part as exhibitors.

Check out the Slideshow at the end of this post to get a visual snapshot of the day.

We want to thank the true stars of our event, the speakers and panelists who shared their knowledge and experience that turned a great gathering into a learning experience.

We started the morning off with an inspirational keynote from Dr. Robert Zubrin. A visionary in the space community and long term champion of going to Mars, Dr. Zubrin shared with us his observations about the new space race with his talk: “The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibilities.” He left the packed audience energized and ready to do our part in this next step in humanities exploration of the universe. He stayed after to talk with people and sign copies of his book, which you can find here.

We then heard from user David Waller of Ball Aerospace on his experience with their Desktop Metal system. He went over the testing, lessons learned, and usage of their Studio system. It was a great in-depth look at someone implementing a new technology. There is a lot of interest around this lower-cost approach to producing metal parts, and the audience was full of questions.

Sticking with the Desktop Metal technology, PADT’s very own Pamela Waterman talked about how PADT is using our in-house Zeiss Optical Scanning hardware and software to inspect the parts we are making with our Desktop Metal System. She shared what we have learned about following the design guidelines that are developing for this technology and how scanning is a fast and accurate way to determine the final geometry created in the three-step process of building a green part, debinding, and sintering.

Next up was Christopher Robinson form ANSYS, Inc. to talk about recent additions to the ANSYS Additive products. He shared how customers are using simulation to design parts for metal powder bed fusion AM and then model the build process to predict and avoid failures as well as compensate for the distortion inherent in the process. The key takeaway was that simulation is the solution for getting parts built right the first time.

After a short break, and some AM trivia that won some PADT25 T-Shirts for people who knew the history of 3D Printing, we heard all about the new V650 Flex Stereolithography system that Stratasys recently introduced. Yes, Stratasys now makes and sells an SL system and it is literally a dream machine designed by people with decades of AM and Stereolithography experience. Learn more about this open and powerful system here.

Another AM technology was up next when Nick Jacobson spoke about Voxel Printing with PolyJet technologies. He discussed how he varies materials and colors spacially to create unique and realistic replicas for medicine and engineering. He also showed how the voxel-based geometry he creates can be used to create Virtual Reality representations of objects. Much of their work revolves around the visualization of hearts for adults and children to improve surgery planning. While we had been focused on space at the start of the afternoon, he reminded us of the immediate and life saving medical applications of AM.

And then we moved back to space with a presentation from Lockheed Martin‘s Brian Kaplun on how they are using AM to create parts that will fly on the Orion Spacecraft. Making production parts with 3D Printing has been a long-term goal for the whole industry, and Lockheed Martin has done the long and hard work of design, test, and putting processes in place to make this dream a reality. One of the biggest takeaways of his talk was how once the Astronauts saw a few AM parts in the capsule, they started asking of its use to redesign other tools and components. The ultimate end-users, they saw the value of lightweight and strong parts that could be made without the limitations of traditional manufacturing.

We finished up the day, after another break and some more trivia, with a fascinating panel on AM at Colorado’s leading Universities. We were lucky to have Ray Huff from Wohlers Associates moderate a distinguished group of deans, directors, and professors from four outstanding but different institutions:

  • Martin Dunn PhD,  Dean of Engineering, CU Denver
  • Jenifer Blacklock PHD, Mechanical Engineering Professor – Colorado School of Mines
  • David Prawel PhD, Director, Idea-2-Product 3D Printing Lab, Colorado State University 
  • Matt Gordon, PhD,  Chair, Mechanical Engineering, University of Denver 

Their wide-ranging discussion covered their education and research around AM. A common theme was industry cooperation. Each school shared how they use AM to help students not just make things, but also understand how parts are made. The discussion was fantastic and ended far too soon, which is always an indicator of a great group of experts.

And that sums up our great day, leaving out several hundred side conversations that went on. Check out this slide show to get a feel for how energetic and interesting the afternoon was.

As everyone left, some reluctantly and after one more beer, the common comment was that they can’t wait to get together again with everyone. We hope that next year we will have more speakers and participants and continue to support the growth of Additive Manufacturing in Colorado.

A quick note about the location: You are not wrong if you remember a different name for the three previous events. St. Patricks’s is now Blind Faith and the new owners could have not been more welcoming. Plus, they have more Belgian’s, which I am a big fan of.

Topology Optimization & Simulation for Additive Manufacturing in ANSYS 2019 R3 – Webinar

ANSYS offers a complete simulation workflow for additive manufacturing (AM) that allows you to transition your R&D efforts for metal additive manufacturing into a successful manufacturing operation. This best-in-class solution for additive manufacturing enables simulation at every step in your AM process. It will help you optimize material configurations and machine and parts setup before you begin to print. As a result, you’ll greatly reduce — and potentially eliminate — the physical process of trial-and- error testing.

Through the use of ANSYS tools such as Additive Prep, Print, and Science, paired with topology optimization capabilities in ANSYS Mechanical Workbench, the need for physical process of trial-and-error testing has been greatly reduced.

Join PADT’s Simulation Support and Application Engineer Doug Oatis for an exploration of the ANSYS tools that help to optimize additive manufacturing, and what new capabilities are available for them when upgrading to ANSYS 2019 R3. This presentation includes updates regarding:

  • Level-set based topology optimization
  • The export of build files directly to AM machines
  • Switching between viewing STL supports, mesh, or element densities
  • Multiple support being made in a single simulation (volume-less & solid supports)
  • And much more

Register Here

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Video Interview: Topology Optimization versus Generative Design

While attending the 2019 RAPID + TCT conference in Detroit this year, I was honored to be interviewed by Stephanie Hendrixson, the Senior Editor of Additive Manufacturing magazine and website. We had a great chat, covering a lot of topics. I do tend to go on, so it turned into two videos.

The first video is about the use of simulation in AM. You should watch that one first, here, because we refer back to some of the basics when we zoomed in on optimization.

Generative design is the use of a variety of tools to drive the design of components and systems to directly meet requirements. One of those tools, the most commonly used, is Topological Optimization. Stephanie and I explore what it is all about, and the power of using these technologies, in this video:

You can view the full article on the Additive Manufacturing website here.

If you have any questions about how you can leverage simulation to add value to your AM processes, contact PADT or shoot me an email at eric.miller@padtinc.com.

Video Interview: 3 Roles for Simulation in Additive Manufacturing

While attending the 2019 RAPID + TCT conference in Detroit this year, I was honored to be interviewed by Stephanie Hendrixson, the Senior Editor of Additive Manufacturing magazine and website. We had a great chat, covering a lot of topics. I do tend to go on, so it turned into two videos.

In the first video, we chat about how simulation can improve the use of Additive Manufacturing for production hardware. We go over the three uses: optimizing the part geometry to take advantage of AM’s freedom, verifying that the part you are about to create will survive and perform as expected, and modeling the build process itself.

You can read the article and watch the video here on the Additive Manufacturing website. Or you can watch it here:

If you have any questions about how you can leverage simulation to add value to your AM processes, contact PADT or shoot me an email at eric.miller@padtinc.com.

For the second interview, we focus on Topological Optimization, Generative design, and the difference between the two. Check that out here.

3D Printed Parts Create a Tricked-Out Truck

PADT’s Austin Suder is a Solidworks CAD wizard, a NASA design-competition (Two for the Crew) winner and a teaching assistant for a course in additive manufacturing (AM)/3D printing. Not bad for someone who’s just started his sophomore year in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University.

PADT's Austin Suder 3D printed these custom LED reverse-light housings in carbon fiber PLA, then added heat-set inserts to strengthen the assembly and mounting structure. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)
PADT’s Austin Suder 3D printed these custom LED reverse-light housings in carbon fiber PLA, then added heat-set inserts to strengthen the assembly and mounting structure. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)

In last month’s PADT blog post about adding heat-set inserts to 3D printed parts we gave a shout-out to Austin for providing our test piece, the off-road LED light unit he had designed and printed for his 2005 Ford F-150. Now we’ve caught up with him between classes to see what other additions he’s made to his vehicle, all created with his personal 3D printers and providing great experience for his part-time work with Stratasys industrial printers in PADT’s manufacturing department.

Q: What has inspired or led you to print multiple parts for your truck?

I like cars, but I’m on a college budget so instead of complaining I found a way to fix the problem. I have five 3D printers at my house – why not put them to work! I understand the capabilities of AM so this has given me a chance to practice my CAD and manufacturing skills and push boundaries – to the point that people start to question my sanity.

Q: How did you end up making those rear-mount LED lights?

I wanted some reverse lights to match the ones on the front of my truck, so I designed housings in SolidWorks and printed them in carbon fiber PLA. Then I soldered in some high-power LED lights and wired them to my reverse lights. These parts made great use of threaded inserts! The carbon fiber PLA that I used was made by a company called Vartega that recycles carbon fiber material. (Note: PADT is an investor of this company.)

Q: In the PADT parking lot, people can’t help but notice your unusual tow-hitch. What’s the story with that?

I saw a similar looking hitch on another car that I liked and my first thought was, “I bet I could make that better.” It’s made from ABS painted chrome (not metal); I knew that I would never use it to tow anything, so this opened up my design freedom. This has been on my truck for about a year and the paint has since faded, but the printed parts are still holding strong.

An adjustable-height "topology optimized" trailer hitch Austin designed and printed in ABS. The chrome paint-job has many passersby doing a double-take, but it's just for fun, not function. (Image courtesy PADT)
An adjustable-height “topology optimized” trailer hitch Austin designed and printed in ABS. The chrome paint-job has many passersby doing a double-take, but it’s just for fun, not function. (Image courtesy PADT)

This part also gets questioned a lot! It’s both a blessing and a curse. In most cases it starts when I’m getting gas and the person behind me starts staring and then questions the thing that’s attached to the back of my truck. The conversation then progresses to me explaining what additive is, to a complete stranger in the middle of a gas station. This is the blessing part because I’m always down for a conversation about AM; the downside is I hate being late for work.

Q: What about those tow shackles on your front bumper?

Unique ABS printed tow shackles - another conversation-starter. (Image courtesy PADT)
Unique ABS printed tow shackles – another conversation-starter. (Image courtesy PADT)

Those parts were printed in ABS – they’re not meant for use, just for looks. I’ve seen towing shackles on Jeeps and other trucks but never liked the look of them, so again I designed my own in this pentagon-shape. I originally printed them in red but didn’t like the look when I installed them; the unusual shading comes because I spray-painted them black then rubbed off some of the paint while wet so the red highlights show through.

Q: Have you printed truck parts in any other materials?

Yes, I‘ve used a carbon-fiber (CF) nylon and flexible TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) on filament printers and a nylon-like resin on a stereolithography system.

The CF nylon worked well when I realized my engine bay lacked the real estate needed for a catch can I’d bought. This was a problem for about five minutes – then I realized I have the power of additive and engineered a mount which raised the can and holds it at an angle. The mount makes great use of complex geometry because AM made it easy to manufacture a strong but custom-shaped part.     

Custom mount, 3D printed in carbon-fiber reinforced nylon, puts aftermarket catch-can in just the right location. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)
Custom mount, 3D printed in carbon-fiber reinforced nylon, puts aftermarket catch-can in just the right location. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)

After adding the catch can to my engine, I needed a way to keep the hoses from moving around when driving so I designed a double S-clip in TPU. The first design didn’t even come close to working – the hoses kept coming loose when driving – so I evaluated it and realized that the outer walls needed to be thicker. I made the change and printed it again, and this time it worked great. In fact, it worked so well that when I took my truck to the Ford dealership for some warranty work, they went missing. (It’s OK Ford, you can have them – I’ll just print another set.)    

Just-right 3D printed clips keep hoses anchored and out of the way. ((Image courtesy Austin Suder)
Just-right 3D printed clips keep hoses anchored and out of the way. ((Image courtesy Austin Suder)

Other parts I printed in TPU included clips for the brake-lines. I had seen that my original clip had snapped off, so when I had the truck up on jacks, I grabbed my calipers and started designing a new, improved version. Thirty minutes later I had them in place.

I also made replacement hood dampeners from TPU since they looked as though they’d been there for the life of the truck. I measured the old ones, used SolidWorks to recreate them (optimized for AM), printed a pair and installed them. They’ve been doing great in the Arizona heat without any deformation.      

New hood-dampeners printed in TPU have just the right amount of give. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)
New hood-dampeners printed in TPU have just the right amount of give. (Image courtesy Austin Suder)

My last little print was done on my SLA system in a material that behaves like nylon. (This was really just me showing off.) The plastic clips that hold the radiator cover had broken off, which led me to use threaded sheet-metal inserts to add machine threading to the fixture. I then purchased chrome bolts and made some 3D printed cup-washers with embossed text for added personalization and flair.  

Even the cup-washers got a 3D printed make-over on Austin's F150: printed in white resin on an SLA system, these parts got a coat of black paint and then some sanding, ending up with a two-color custom look. (Image courtesy PADT)
Even the cup-washers got a 3D printed make-over on Austin’s F150: printed in white resin on an SLA system, these parts got a coat of black paint and then some sanding, ending up with a two-color custom look. (Image courtesy PADT)

Q: What future automotive projects do you have in mind?

I’m working on a multi-section bumper and am using the project to standardize my production process – the design, material choice, sectioning and assembling. I got the idea because I saw someone with a tube frame car and thought it looked great, which led to me start thinking about how I could incorporate that onto my truck.

When I bought my F-150, it had had a dent in the rear bumper. I was never happy with this but didn’t have the money to get it fixed, so at this point the tube-frame look came full circle! I decided that I was going to 3D print a tube-frame bumper to replace the one with a dent. I started by removing the original bumper, taking measurements and locating possible mounting points for my design. Then I made some sketches and transferred them into SolidWorks.

The best part about this project is that I have additive on my side. Typical tube frame construction is limited by many things like bend allowance, assembly, and fabrication tooling. AM has allowed me to design components that could not be manufactured with traditional methods. The bumper will be constructed of PVC sections connected by 50 ABS printed parts, all glued together, smoothed with Bondo and filler primer then painted black. This is a large project!  It will take a lot of hand-finishing, but it will be perfect.

Q: If you were given the opportunity to work on any printer technology and/or material, what would you want to try working with?

Great question! If I had the opportunity to use AM for automotive components, I would redesign internal engine components and print them with direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), one of PADT’s other AM technologies. I would try printing part like piston rods, pistons, rocker arms, and cylinder valves. Additive is great for complex geometries with exotic materials.

Go Austin! Can’t wait to see what your truck looks like when you visit over semester break.

To learn more about fused deposition modeling (FDM/filament), stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS) and DMLS printers and materials, contact the PADT Manufacturing group; get your questions answered, have some sample parts printed, and share your success tips.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Insight, GrabCAD and Stratasys products, contact us at info@padtinc.com.