As you know, we’ve been covering additive fabrication (rapid prototyping) regularly throughout the year to keep you updated on what’s going on in that world and how it will affect you. And now we have a project that will put one of these technologies to the test and we are seeking your help.
The technology is direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), which Greg Morris of Morris Technologies (www.morristech.com) believes can enhance moldmaking leadtimes and efficiencies (see the May 2006 article Direct Metal Laser Sintering and Tooling: The applications, benefits and limitations of DMLS for mold manufacture).
Greg is looking for an interested and qualified tool shop that would be able to participate in this project alongside Morris Technologies, which in the end will yield valuable comparison results between DMLS and traditional mold manufacture.
Morris Technologies and the tool shop to-be-named would together design a part with a geometry that would create a fair test. The ideal size would be something that fits in a 3-inch cube.
This sample part would then be dual pathed. Morris would create the inserts in DMLS and the tool shop would create the inserts using traditional methods.
The mold would have a fair amount of complexity—no slides and lifters in the mold; it should be a single-cavity, open and closed mold; however, ribs and other features that would make it challenging to manufacture is preferred.
After tool completion, both parties will review the details about each tool—time to make the inserts, tolerances achieved, surface finishes, etc.—revealing the pros and cons of each technology from a real world situation. This data and analysis will be published in an article in an upcoming issue.
The shop we seek needs to be involved in high technology “traditional” methods of making molds (high-speed milling capabilities, HSM, advanced EDM capabilities, etc.). The shop also should have a strong prototype capability—meaning a large segment of its business should be driven by the prototype mold market. We are not looking to have a production mold built.
A project like this involves both time and cost commitments in regards to the materials necessary and the meetings required to review the geometry, cover the objectives and discuss the mold details. We are anticipating two to three months to complete this project.
If anyone is interested in participating in this project or needs further details, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 579-8809.
I know you’re out there, so give me a call and show us that you’re up for the challenge!