Metal and Plastic additive manufacturing (AM) offer the flexibility to create parts which would otherwise be impossible to make with more traditional manufacturing techniques. Whilst AM parts do not have to adhere to conventional design rules, both DMLS (metal) and Selective Laser Sintering (plastic) have their own unique limits and constraints. Drawing upon FLEX3Ds years of additive manufacturing experience, our in-house design team are able to produce effective design solutions, reinforced by an industry leading knowledge of AM machines, materials and post-processes. Working across a broad range of industry sectors ranging from Automotive to Consumer and Luxury goods we are well experienced in offering a tailor made design service to best suit your needs.
If you are looking for help to create designs which harness the full potential of additive manufacturing see below for the types of service we can offer.
The most effective AM parts are designed from conception with the process in mind. With a design philosophy in which complexity is not a limiting factor we design parts around AM specific constraints such as build orientation, effective heat management and layer exposure. Working to your project brief we can generate design solutions which provide performance benefits beyond the possibility of conventional manufacturing processes.
Often the decision to use AM can happen long after a parts initial conception and design. Whilst certain aspects of a design may be locked down, we can evaluate and optimise areas in which there is still scope for change. This process can offer numerous benefits including:
- Reduced production cost.
- Reduced weight.
- Improved repeatability.
- Improved performance.
If you want to keep all of your design development in-house but would like some advice we are able to offer a design review service. Through this service we can:
- Evaluate and provide feedback on the suitability of your parts for AM.
- Suggest modifications to improve part repeatability / build stability.
- Suggest modifications to make parts more cost effective.
- Advise on appropriate tolerances and clearances.
- Evaluate and advise on specific performance requirements.
3D CAD Drafting / Reverse Engineering:
If you have an existing design/part that you would like to get 3D printed but do not have any 3D CAD available we can offer a CAD drafting service. By using your existing 2D drawings, sketches, photos or physical parts we translate this information into a 3D CAD model suitable for AM.
In order to build the highest quality parts we need high quality data. 3D-Print-Ready data needs to consist of a solid “watertight” model with details and features that fall within our design guidelines. If you have data which is not 3D-Print-Ready then we offer a data fixing service.
There are a large range of pre-build data preparations that we frequently carry out. A few of the most common requests are:
- Splitting up geometries that are too large to be built in one piece in a way that allows them to be easily joined back together.
- Modifying threads, hinges and other tight tolerance features to ensure they are AM optimised.