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Solving Everyday Problems in the Auto Industry with 3D Printing

by • May 2, 2016 • No Comments

But 3D printing is a quickly changing industry and area of innovation, it is by no means new. Coming to market around the 80’s and inside the last 10 years becoming additional accessible to the commercial market, 3D printing yet has a prevalent image of being elusive and futuristic.

This perception is many likely due in part to the industries that pioneered 3D printing and go on to hustle the boundaries of it daily. Companies such as Lockheed or in fact government agencies such as NASA, use 3D printing regularly and when you associate rocket science with anything, it instantly is given an ora of being overly futuristic and in fact out of reach to the general market.

But, this idea that 3D printing is elusive is far of reality.

One other industry that is heavily influenced by 3D printing is the car industry. Historically, 3D printing may have been utilized for anything of prototyping the create of a new car to in fact printing car parts for a production version automobile.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden view a 3D printed carbon fiber Shelby Corbra car during a tour of Techmer PM in Clinton, Tenn., Jan. 9, 2015. They are joined by Lonnie Love, createer and developer at Oak Ridge National Lab, and Tom Drye, Managing Director of Techmer ES. John Manuck, Chairman and CEO of Techmer PM. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden view a 3D printed carbon fiber Shelby Corbra car during a tour of Techmer PM in Clinton, Tenn., Jan. 9, 2015. They are joined by Lonnie Love, createer and developer at Oak Ridge National Lab, and Tom Drye, Managing Director of Techmer ES. John Manuck, Chairman and CEO of Techmer PM. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

These examples are many likely why 3D printing comes across as overly technical and utilized only in the many rare of cases. So, are there cases when, in a primary industry, 3D printing can prove its worth to solve day to day problems? Yes!

Case Study: Solving a Real Life Problem

Recently, Halo Technologies had an auto dealership contact them with a problem. A key tracker machine they had purchased not long ago in excess of $15,000 USD was no longer being serviced by the company they purchased it of and ultimately, the parent of this company had shifted focus concludely and was unable-bodied to provide any service assistance.



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Essentially, this expensive piece of hardware was a glorified lockbox that kept track of all the keys for all the vehicles on their lot. Unless the dealership may find a solution to securing the main component, it rendered this $15,000 piece of hardware a “dead-weight.” They had worn out and/or lost the stock fobs and were in need of new ones. The client searched for several weeks, called different types of sources and in fact checked eBay for utilized parts — all without good results. That’s when they called us.



The create itself, that you can see in the pictures at a lower place, was not complicated by any means and was created in fact easier by the fact the client did not need a microchip slot that was located on the stock key fobs. The only concern the our team had of the part, was the curved edge, that was curved and posed a future structural issue when it came to 3D printing.



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We replicated the stock create in CAD and tested different types of print settings. Printing without assists did not work as the curved portion may collapse. Even printing at different types of temperatures with assists, the print was yet “messy.” At one point, we in fact placed a assist in the create file itself and this did assist the print results, but the product was yet not client worthy.



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Ultimately, we switched of via ABS filament (chosen for the assumed durablity it may provide) and reverted to standard PLA. This alter allowed for the parts to be printed with relative ease and after printing the full order, we were satisfied with the results.

We delivered the parts to the client and the job was conclude, or so we idea.

A few days later we got that call each business owner dreads: The client was having issues with the parts we had delivered. The key fobs were cracking when inserted into the machine.



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After meeting with the client and realizing they were not concerned with having the precise create of the stock part, but pretty the functionality itself, we are able-bodied to recreate the part. Our new create didn’t have the long sliding hole. Instead, we placed two separate holes, one high and one low for varying key lengths and kept the diameter only big adequate for the standard key rings the client was via.

After a reprint of the entire batch and customer attempting testing them for a few days, the improved results were immediately noticed and the client was pleased with the results.

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3D Printing Solving Problems & Saving Money

This is an example of how through 3D printing we were not only able-bodied to save a client the cost of a new $15,000 machine, but were able-bodied to show the that 3d printing quite can be a solution to day to day problems. Compared to traditional making that may have taken weeks to create a ideal create, it took only a few days to do this with 3D printing.

No, we didn’t print a full car, but we solved a problem that has the future to save dealerships thousands of dollars. Whilst printing the novelty statues, iPhone stands and our favourite film character is fun (and we do it all the time) for those who see 3D printing as a solution to people’s problems, the future is endless.

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