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Optimize Your Workflow with 3D Printed Fixtures and Tools

By <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/sarah-case/" target="_self">Sarah Smith</a>

By Sarah Smith

Posted on September 21, 2022

3D printed fixtures and tools are used in tandem with existing manufacturing processes. They support workflows already in place, assisting operators complete their tasks in less time and with greater ease. Custom printed jigs, CMM fixtures, tools, and soft jaws can be printed in house, expediting jobs through production.

The Stratasys F123CR Series can run composite ready materials including non-marring nylon-based carbon fiber filament FDM Nylon-CF10. This material has the strength and rigidity to withstand use as a fixture and is light enough for handling.

Nylon CF10 Example

Nylon CF10 example part

Alignment during assembly is critical to meet tight tolerances, and projects don’t always have a perfect off-the-shelf tool available. The TriMech model and prototype shop has the capability to create custom printed fixtures and tools to hold cumbersome parts in place. This ensures we achieve the accuracy needed to meet technical drawings specifications for threaded inserts and bonded components.

Damage during precision installation of fine or fragile parts is mitigated with the use of these tools. This solution is a great resource for adjusting the burden from the team member to the tool. Empowering the worker to create unique solutions for the projects they manage. 

Custom 3D printed fixtures

When it comes to long run or high-count productions, investment in tooling can save operators time and reduce mill rate. An example is custom printed soft jaws in a CNC application. Thousands of parts can be set up efficiently and repeatedly. The TriMech Additive Manufacturing team has post machined DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) printed parts by leveraging custom printed holding fixtures. The fusion of 3D capabilities and traditional machining pushes the boundaries of the manufacturing process. 

Nylon CF10 soft jaw 3D printed fixtures

Nylon CF10 soft jaw

Another handy application is custom printed inspection fixturing. Production of custom part holding pieces can be helpful in stabilizing parts for caliper measurements. For fast total geometry inspection data, a digital scanner can be used. Inspection units can achieve accuracy down to 10 microns.

Optimize your workflow by utilizing composite ready printers for all your custom fixturing. If you want to discuss outfitting your company with fixtures our Product Engineering Group is here to help, or if you have 3D files ready, contact our Advanced Manufacturing Services team for a quote.

Article by <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/sarah-case/" target="_self">Sarah Smith</a>

Article by Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a Hardware Products Marketing Specialist for the TriMech Advanced Manufacturing business