When you need to put complex assemblies together that have a lot of different pieces it can be a challenge to do it efficiently, let alone easily. What makes a job like this much better is creating a custom fixture to hold of your parts in place while you do the assembly. This allows you to put the parts together much safer, quicker, and more efficiently, which is what matters when working on a high capacity assembly line or even for dealing with complex one-off assemblies.
Typically, that has been a cost issue and a turn around time issue when it comes to making a custom fixture. For a one-off part, it is hard to justify the cost or the time loss for replacing a damaged fixture in high volume operations. Now with easy access to Stratasys 3D Printing, you can make a custom fixture overnight for a minimal investment.
One of the things holding people back from using more fixtures is the complexity of making the CAD of the fixture that is easily machinable. If you made the fixture too complex and intricate the costs would soar too high. But that is one of the big advantages of 3D printing. Stratasys 3D Printers do not care how complex the parts are that they make. Part complexities for the Stratasys printer can be likened to the difference between a high-quality picture or a low-quality picture printed on an inkjet printer. There is really no difference to the printer. This unlocks the advantages of making a more highly customized, organic, and optimized part. With those features, the printer can typically print it faster and cheaper than a big, blocky, non-optimized part.
Gone are the days of slow and painful CAD fixture creation. Now you can take your CAD file, create a cavity of your part to hold it perfectly. And from there, create a few optimizations to use less material, make the part lighter and stiffer, and not have to worry about any of the complex unique geometry that the fixture will need to work.
Once we have the CAD file for the fixture we can toss it into GrabCAD Print to send to the printer. Here we can easily adjust how rigid we want to fixture and how strong we want to fixture with just a few easy slider bars.
Now we simply hit print and by tomorrow we will have a complete, ready to use fixture with only half an hour of total invested time.
Applications Engineer, 3D Printing and 3D Scanning
Computer Aided Technology, LLC