3D Computer Aided Design

Computer Aided Design otherwise know as CAD, enables designers to bring their innovative ideas to reality.

How does 3D printing technology utilise CAD?

3D printers work with computer-aided designs (CAD) to make your ideas become a reality. If you do not have CAD, that is not a problem; we have SolidWorks software in-house on which our engineers can create a 3D model from detailed sketches, 2D engineering drawings, or scale pictures of the parts you wish to manufacture. To build anything, our additive manufacturing machines require a 3D CAD file in STL file format. While this is the preferred format, we can convert most common types of CAD files, such as .iges, .stp, and .obj, to name a few.

If you already have a design in 3D CAD format but are not quite happy with some features or are unsure how to effectively design for the additive manufacturing process, get in touch! Our engineers on the projects team would be happy to give their advice, explain the do’s and don’ts, or take on the 3D design work at any stage for you. By leveraging our expertise and advanced software, we ensure that your ideas are transformed into high-quality, manufacturable designs, ready for 3D printing.

DFAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing)

The cost-effective solutions we engineer for Automotive manufacturers and their suppliers range from development parts on concept vehicles and evaluation prototypes, through to functional end-use components on short-run specialist sports cars and supercars.
CASE STUDIES

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Functional Prototypes

Building a functional prototype is crucial before mass production. 3D printing enables cost-effective design reviews and tweaks. It offers various materials to mimic end-use products, allowing full functionality testing of parts or complete designs.

3D printing excels in producing customized or limited-run parts and products. This digital manufacturing method eliminates the need for traditional tooling and setup, potentially reducing costs through added complexity or lower part count. We create strong, lightweight parts with high definition and built-in functionality, such as screw threads and sealing grooves, eliminating post-processing. The technology offers design flexibility for bespoke versions across various applications, enabling airtight or resistant parts.

To form complex mandrels for composite tooling, materials such as SR-30 (FDM) and DMX 100 (SLA) are starting to gain traction and, with the right knowledge and experience, these materials can perform wonders. SR-30 is a sacrificial mandrel and DMX is an extraction mandrel with some unique properties.

Costing

The cost to build a tool is generally determined by the size of the tool, not its complexity. As an example, an iPhone sized tool would cost around £30, whereas an iPad-sized tool would be £240.

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