Republished from Stratasys
3D printed jigs and fixtures open up new possibilities on manufacturing-floor productivity. 3D printed jigs and fixtures are built from a digital CAD file rather than hard tooling, allowing you to produce aids on-demand, as needed.
3D printing manufacturing aids, rather than machining or molding, allows you to design for optimal performance, and additive manufacturing places fewer constraints on tool configuration. The addition of complexity does not typically increase build time or cost compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
Reduction of Costs
With advantages such as quick turnarounds, part consolidation and near labor-less production, 3D printing jigs and fixtures delivers an overall cheaper venture. TS Tech achieved 31% direct cost savings moving to a 3D printed fixture. The additive process also reduces material waste and helps you avoid costly expenses associated with inventory and storage.
The ease of customization and ergonomic enhancements with 3D printed jigs and fixtures delivers an overall improved performance on the production floor. CAD files can be easily modified before each build, allowing for the painless customization of tools and aids.
These customizations can include contours that improve tool handling and ease of use to help increase worker comfort. Improve efficacy and safety for employees with weight reduction from 3D printed jigs and fixtures. Weight savings up to 90% have been achieved by utilizing high-strength thermoplastics instead of metals.
A complicated jig or fixture that may have been designed for manufacturability and requires extensive machining or other conventional production methods can find new value with 3D printing technology. The design freedom of additive manufacturing removes traditional manufacturing constraints and opens new opportunities for tool configuration.