In the case study below, you’ll see the journey of reverse engineering a jet ski part for 3D printing. We first 3D scanned a part that we needed to replace, then evaluated all the 3D printing processes and materials available for the project. In this case, we chose powder bed 3D printing on the Stratasys H350, as it provided the optimal solution.
Acquiring very specific parts for certain jet ski accessory lines can be a difficult challenge. This is not an uncommon problem for specialty, niche, and aftermarket products.
The marine industry continuously seeks new ways to develop their products to cut costs and gain a competitive edge. Jet skis and wave runners are relentlessly taking beatings from their rough rides through wakes and waves, so tough material properties are of the utmost importance.
The part that needed replacement is a specialized bracket used to secure the front-end dry box under the hood of the jet ski. The part was traditionally manufactured through a time-consuming and expensive process of urethane casting due to the material properties required. This client turned to 3D scanning and 3D printing technology to produce the part, resulting in a cost-effective and efficient solution.
The traditional manufacturing process of injection molding for the bracket involved creating a mold, injecting plastic or urethane into the mold and trimming any unwanted flashing or vents upon a successful shot. The process was costly and time-consuming, with a long lead time from order to delivery.
With urethane casting quotes of $70 per part and $96 per part over a total quantity of 115 parts, for a potential total project cost of $11,040. The customer was looking for a faster and more cost-effective solution to produce the hinge clamp.
TriMech was able to provide that solution. Using Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF) technology with the Stratasys H350, the part cost per 115 parts was $8.83, for a total project cost of $1,015.45 and was able to be printed, processed and in the hand of the customer faster. Offering a lower price point and quicker turnaround time than casting urethane parts for this project.
“Going with SAF 3D printing shaved weeks off our lead time and resulted in a cost savings over 90 percent.”
The customer then explored a local 3D printing service provider, TriMech, to discover the possibility in which 3D printing can be used to produce the part. After evaluating various 3D printing technologies, the team decided to use SAF technology due to its high accuracy and ability to produce complex geometries with high packing densities for optimal production.
The SAF process uses its powder bed displacement technology to selectively absorb its HAF (High absorption fluid) layer by layer to create its three-dimensional object. SAF technology is an advanced powder bed fusion 3d printing process that uses its system of recirculating and filtering unused powder during printing, reducing waste and material costs.
The jet ski hinge clamp was produced in Nylon PA12 offering great strength, ductility, rebound, temperature, and chemical resistance. Given the part was not meant to be submerged in water and mostly protected by the hood of the jet ski, no post processing solution was needed. If the part required submersion in water, a vapor fuse process could have been performed to smooth over and close the pores of the material, giving the part a water-resistant finish.
The part was not designed by TriMech, it was 3D scanned using a handheld Artec Space Spider scanner to capture the geometric data, and then the team used CAD software to create an STL of the hinge clamp.
The STL was then brought into GrabCad print pro where it was then duplicated and nested using its nesting software to strategically place the parts .079” apart from each other in the digital build volume. Achieving a nesting density of 16%, with 115 parts nested into the build volume, the build was then sent over to the H350 for printing.
Upon printing, the parts were then brushed off, recycling unused powder, and placed into the DyeMansion automated bead blasting system the PowerShot C for 2, 12-minute cycles and were then ready to hit the water.
The use of SAF technology for 3D printing the jet ski hinge clamp bracket allowed for a cost-effective and efficient solution to a traditionally difficult-to-manufacture part. The use of 3D printing reduced lead times, costs, and space for storing molds. While also increasing design flexibility and customization options. The success of this project has encouraged the customer to explore further applications of 3D printing and SAF technology in their manufacturing process.
If you’re interested in learning more about SAF technology and how it could be beneficial to your next project, reach out to our team of experts.