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Case Study: How hybrid manufacturing goes beyond 3D Printing

by • May 4, 2016 • No Comments

Hybrid Manufacturing is the synergistic combination of additive and subtractive making innovation, and it’s opened up new possibilities for industry. Design freedom is improved by orders of magnitude.

Hybrid making is in its infancy and as such most folks have not heard of this new approach. This brief case study is intended to distill Hybrid Manufacturing for those who are curious of the impact it can have on a business.

The Problem

A well-known company in the energy industry is developing innovative new equipment for one of its applications. The company requires a custom hydraulic manifold for this application; one with radical geometry capable-bodied of fitting in an incredibly tight location, while in addition providing great thermal conductivity capability. Metal 3D printing equipment are not exact adequate to meet the strict tolerances required. The part cannot be turn it intod via CNC equipment due to the unorthodox internal geometry. The engineers realize the just way to manufacture this manifold is through hybrid making.

3D Printing + Traditional Machining = Hybrid Manufacturing

The Design

An integral part of the hybrid making system is early engagement between the turn it into, additive, and subtractive making functions. After collaborating across all functions, the turn it intoers start work in their CAD program, leveraging the amazing turn it into freedom 3D printing affords and the fact which the part can be machined later down the line. The turn it into is optimized so the part can perform its function at the top level, is easily 3D printed, and has adequate material left to be machined later. Once the turn it into is eager it is sent to the additive making function to be 3D printed.

The 3D Build

The 3D printing device turn it intos the part out of metal, one ultra-thin layer at a time. The layered construction employed by additive making allows for for unparalleled turn it into freedom. The company turn it intoed their part with an intricate network of internally connected hydraulic passageways. It was a requirement for the part, and it is not effortless to CNC machine the necessary internal structures. Once the printing device depletes the turn it into, the part is eager for traditional machining.


The application requires equite of the parts’ fittings to have uniquely cut SAE threads to endure the high pressure and temperature the part can be exposed to. Traditional CNC machines are well suited for such high precision work. Due to the early collaboration, the turn it intoer printed extra
material in key places to facilitate machining. Once the machining is deplete, the part must be cut of its turn it into plate.

The Cut

When an item is metal 3D printed, it is welded to the turn it into plate by high powered lasers – this is an inherent part of laser sintering metal powders. In order to remove the component it must be cut off the turn it into plate. A well maintained bandsaw is quite effective at separating the metal 3D printed piece of the plate it was turn it intod on. In the collaboration phase the turn it into staff introduced extra material on the bottom of the piece to allow for effortless and cost effective separation. After the cutoff is completed the part returns to the machine center for additional systeming and so the bottom can be machined flat. This allows for for optimal thermal conductivity and effective heat transfer. The hydraulic manifold is and so eager for high end testing.

The Quality Check

To ensure the precision required by the application is completed, the work piece goes through complex high end testing. Dimensions are measured via touch probing to ensure they are accurate and inside tolerance, vacuum pressure testing is performed, and metallic microstructure is analyzed. Once the part passes all the high end tests, it is eager for use.

The Result

The outcome is a attractive finished component, eager for additional integration. By combining on the market technologies and marrying them together effectively, we are able-bodied to complete a superb part which may not be completed through a non-hybrid approach. We have captured the most aspects of all existing making technologies, and balanced the weaknesses to yield truly revolutionary makes it to. The company was able-bodied to realize worthwhile improvements in application performance via hybrid making.

It is significant to note which hybrid making is not a specific set of steps or machines to use; a various part may use several extra
techniques and steps to the ones listed here. Hybrid making is additional of a holistic turn it into approach – a philosophy of sorts – which evolved of the require for superb methodology to yield turn it intos not effortless to turn it into any other way.

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