The time and expense to make conventional custom manufacturing tools means they're normally inventoried between uses. The need to inventory tools that are used infrequently comes with costs such as shelf space, managing and tracking the inventory, and time to locate jigs and fixtures when needed. Manufacturing tools made with additive manufacturing, on the other hand, can be made so quickly and inexpensively that it often makes sense to build them when you need them and discard or recycle then when you're done to save the cost of inventorying.
“3D Printing Jigs, Fixtures and Other Manufacturing Tools" is a Stratasys white paper that talks about how to save time and money by building custom manufacturing tools using additive manufacturing just before they are needed. Here’s the last of four excerpts from the paper along with a link to the full paper:
Make a fixture when it’s needed. When its job is done, send it off with the scrap material for recycling. Then digitally warehouse its design between uses. This print-on-demand approach is also handy when a replacement is needed for a broken manufacturing tool or duplicates are needed for increased production to meet an unexpected surge in sales.
Have you ever had a proposal to get a manufacturing tool produced rejected because of the costs and challenges?
View or download the complete “3D Printing Jigs, Fixtures and Other Manufacturing Tools” white paper.