Recently the public got a rare view of the Slant 3D 3D printing factory. Dee Sarton's "Keepin' it Local" Segment came to one of our 3D printing facilities and was able to discuss how production additive manufacturing was growing in Idaho and is helping businesses ranging from startups to Amazon.
One of the largest advantages of the FDM printing processes used by Slant 3D, when contrasted with methods such as SLA/SLS, MJF, or injection molding, are our abilities to embed 3rd party hardware into the parts to create a strong and permanent assembly. This capability give the assembly longer life and reduces production costs because there is no secondary assembly and fasteners that can fail.
Embedding bearings, electronics, LED's, motors, fasteners, and in the past beads in a baby rattle, are a common option for production 3D printed parts. But it does often require rethinking of the design of the part in order to accommodate the addition of parts during the process. After all we are literally growing a part around another part.
The way the 3rd party parts are added is by pausing the process at key locations. Slant 3D technicians will then place the hardware into the parts and the process will continue to finish encasing the 3rd party hardware.
This can only be done with FDM 3D Printing. Other processes such as SLS or MFJ cannot allow for the addition of new hardware, not only because they can't really pause without potentially disturbing the print, but during the process the entire build volume is filled with the printing material so there is no way to insert hardware without disturbing the print and making it unusable. FDM does not have this problem
Selecting a location for the piece to be added
FDM production printing builds the part 1 layer at a time by using a nozzle extruding hot plastic. This requires that any part be capable of being added almost immediately prior to when it would be encased in plastic
While this process of addition is generally determined and engineered by Slant 3D, it is useful to understand in the context as it can help with the design of the cavity that the part will be placed in. Things to consider include clearance of the nozzle and how the part will lay as it is being buried.
Below are some common profiles and when, relative to the layering, the part would be added.
There is a great deal of variability in the capabilities of engineering production 3D printed parts to have embedded hardware. So it is ideal if you include Slant 3D in your design process as early as possible. Our engineers can guide you through the design and make suggestions to the optimize the design for the process.
Feel fee to contact us or submit the current iteration of your design and we will provide a quote and design feedback within 1 business day.