3D Printed Manufacturing Applications Expanding with Metal Threads and Screws

If you’re looking for new ways to expand your additive manufacturing applications, this video is a must see. It was filmed by the experts at CAPINC, a Stratasys reseller that serves the northeast United States, and features David Belanger, a member of CAPINC’s Stratasys support team.

Belanger demonstrates how to insert metal threads into FDM-based and PolyJet-based 3D printed parts. This is a great technique for 3D printed parts that will undergo the process of assembly and disassembly.

The bigger picture here is that using your 3D printer to create prototypes is just the beginning when it comes to manufacturing. 3D printed tools and tool patterns are becoming more universal as they continue to demonstrate their value for cost savings and shorter production cycles. For example, companies that have integrated 3D printed jigs and fixtures into their assembly lines are experiencing accelerated time to market and reduced production costs.

Belanger explained to the Stratasys Blog: “Inserting the brass threaded inserts is something we learned a long time ago. It’s something that is very simple, easy to do and works great.  This process is used in the plastics industry with mainly plastic sheet stock. People are sometimes aware of the process but never think of using them for prototypes. These days 3D printed parts aren’t just prototypes, they are jigs and fixtures in manufacturing, tool holding devices or molds.”

The FDM-based 3D printed switchbox seen in the video, made out of blue ABSplus 3D printing material, was produced on a Fortus 250mc 3D Production System. The PolyJet 3D printed part was produced on an Objet260 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer in rigid opaque material (VeroBlack).

To learn more about 3D printing jigs and fixtures, check out our webinar:  Beyond Prototypes: 3D Printing Transforms Xerox’s Model Shop.

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

Comments

  1. Another idea could be to use a bit of threaded rod in a drill press, heat the insert with a soldering iron or a gas pen torch while it's screwed onto the rod. It would also be possible to control the depth limit using the drills limit guides. Sweet idea though.

  2. Robert Messer says:

    @Euan True, you can do it that way, but when you're making a lot of these little guys, this way is quick and rather effecient, as long as you're careful (I did notice his one sample looked slightly crooked) but I assume any errors can be carefully fixed (use a long screw, heat the metal threads by touching the soldering iron (or pen torch) to the screw closest to the threads... using thick gloved hand, move the screw until the threads are strieght.

  3. Very good idea, I need to give this a go.
    I have been having some issues with my threaded inserts recently, especially the brass ones. I ditched my insert provider and changed to a company named FSU: http://www.fasteningsolutionsuk.com/ - very good affordable inserts.

    Thanks for the post chaps, some good info here :)

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