In our view, there can be only one reason people choose to spend more time, money and effort than necessary for any given task. That reason is simple: They don’t realize there is another, better way. We strive to deliver what our customers want for their R&D and production processes, which is efficiency. After all, if you’re going to win in the long-term, you need the tools and capabilities that can help you excel not only with speed, but with performance, cost, accuracy, repeatability and ease-of-use. You don’t have time to be bogged down by slow, expensive or unreliable anything.
Jigs and fixtures are a staple of efficient production, and advancements in additive manufacturing technology and materials have made 3D printing an exceptional match for this application. 3D Systems’ Digital Light Printing (DLP) technology is making it better, cheaper and faster than ever to produce accurate and functional 3D printed jigs and fixtures, and/or to iterate ideal designs for final machining with minimal waste.
Speed is essential to winning in today’s manufacturing arena
Speed is a multi-faceted advantage. Speed means more than a faster time to part, or faster time to more parts. Speed also means faster time to insights. The ability to evaluate and make informed design choices efficiently keeps businesses highly competitive in a market where slow and steady doesn’t cut it. By adding agility to your workflow and removing barriers to experimentation, innovation and consistent improvement becomes second nature.
For jigs and fixtures, the print speeds enabled by DLP allow same-day design and fabrication of effective production tools. This capability compresses tasks that would otherwise be postponed by days or weeks to things that can be achieved in an afternoon. If the part was correctly designed the first time, this means work can continue without delay. If the original design requires modification, the time and cost required to implement changes is negligible compared to conventional options. Even compared to other additive manufacturing methodologies, the speed of DLP (up to 100 mm/hr on Figure 4) puts it in a different class.
In a part-to-part print time comparison for the same full-platform build at 50-micron resolution, the FabPro 1000 demonstrated a 4x speed improvement against a competitive entry-level SLA machine, reducing total print time from 10 hours to just 2.5 hours.
High accuracy, repeatable 3D printing for parts you can trust
For longtime followers of 3D printing, Stereolithography (SLA) is the gold standard for accuracy. However, many may not realize 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology (although DLP) was part of the original SLA patent filed by industry founder Chuck Hull in the 1980s. This miniature history lesson provides a bit of context for why the accuracy of 3D Systems’ DLP is so comparable to SLA. As 3D Systems’ materials scientists continue developing and releasing new advanced chemistries for DLP, this already impeccable accuracy will continue to set new standards. We already offer quick-printing tough and durable materials as well as elastomeric materials, making DLP a compelling choice for a wide range of jig and fixture applications, including those that require snap fit or soft-touch features.
Accuracy in jigs and fixtures is critical to ensuring delivery of the planned outcome. Repeatability, or the ability to consistently reproduce the same geometry, is also critical. Not only for maintaining quality and reducing wasted time and resources, but for bolstering trust in your process to innovate with confidence.
Six sigma repeatability (Cpk > 2) across all Figure 4 materials makes Figure 4 the most accurate 3D printing technology available.
Think DLP could be a good fit for your next jig or fixture application? Talk to an expert about the technologies and materials available to find out how to unlock the key benefits of 3D printing in your next project.