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Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

(OP)
Hello,

I have kind of an odd question. I work for a company that specializes in procurement for hydraulic and pneumatic parts. I am trying to convince our boss to purchase a 3d printer for side projects such as printing models and hard to find parts. My question for all you engineers out there is, "would there be any specific parts or models that you think that you as an engineer may need printed?" For example, prototyping and such. We were thinking of offering a print service specific to engineers for different types of projects versus open to hobbyist. Let me know what you guys think. Thank you in advance :)

Kindest Regards,

Michael

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

We have our own printer, but these are the things we've printed
> Fit-check components for build-up into final assembly model
> One-off widgets like aperture plates for optical testing

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

I would not suggest using 3D printed parts in hydraulic or pneumatic applications due to difficulty sealing on the rough surfaces and the porous nature of FDM parts (assuming you mean FDM by "3D printer"). Chemical compatibility with hydraulic fluid may be an issue for some materials as well.

If you are trying to get into 3D printing parts for all applications, not just your company's specialty you will likely not be able to compete on cost, lead time, or capabilities with the large, well established companies already in the space.

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

(OP)
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the responses. Really just looking at the feasibility of doing it and if its worth it or not. I believe a lot of our smaller clients that are working with us may want to use it for some projects and it would be great if we could help out and possibly a little profit as well. Thanks again guys for the ideas. If there are any other ideas of different parts and models that you have had to have printed, we would love to hear.

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

(OP)
If I may ask a follow up to the question, does anyone have any specific frustrations with getting 3d prints done, in-house or through another source?

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

I've worked for several companies that were highly dependent on 3d printers, owned them, and also outsourced that work to others. My current employer does quite a lot of it in-house, including metal printing low-volume production and prototype/test parts. IME the economics of printing are such that unless you do a lot of it then buying a decent machine can be a tough sell as there are many companies that specialize in it and can turn parts around in a day or two for peanuts. If your business case involves offering services to others then you're likely going to lose money.

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

Quote (CWB1)

the economics of printing are such that unless you do a lot of it then buying a decent machine can be a tough sell as there are many companies that specialize in it and can turn parts around in a day or two for peanuts

Agreed with this from a rational business perspective (and its my approach). But they are fun and to some extent instructive to play with, plus it can be painful to the point of impossible to get management approval every time you need to print something.

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

The issue with in-house 3D printing, particularly if you cannot generate a large revenue stream, is that your equipment will quickly become obsolete, compared to people who do it for a living. Our in=house 3D printer has lower resolution than most personal printers owned by our employees. A tad embarrassing...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Looking for Engineer Feedback for 3d Printing

(OP)
Thanks again guys, this is terrific feedback! I really appreciate all the help :)

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