3D Printed Fixture for Consumer Electronic

What is a fixture?

A fixture is mainly used in manufacturing industry to hold manufactured part and act as a support device to secure position in a specific location or orientation. The use of fixture is widely adopted by manufacturers as it improves the productivity by streamlining operation and quick transition from part to part.

How jig & fixture is done traditionally?

In contrast with mass production concept, a manufacturer will only need a few jigs & fixtures typically 5 – 100 pieces depending on their assembly line. These are normally manufactured via subtractive manufacturing method in metal / aluminium, and easily take 3 – 6 months time along with the master mould production.

Imagine a manufacturer with different projects – they would require a different fixture as the product differs. This translates into high overhead / inventory cost for keeping a short term use fixture.

Assembly Line Example

Assembly Line Example

 This is where 3D printing comes in.

3D printing leverage on few points to tackle the current manufacturing problem:

  • Print on demand. This not only allow you to significantly cut short on production time, it also allows you to streamline your operation at a quicker pace.
  • Lesser cost. Optimize your fixture cost by printing it in a tough material but at a cheaper cost.
  • Custom design. Some fixtures require custom novel design which traditional manufacturing has limitations, this is where 3D printing shines.
Assembly Line With Fixture

Assembly Line With Fixture

 

Here is what we did for our customer recently:

File Source: Client
Technology:  FDM
Printer:  Idea Series – uPrint SE
Materials: ABS Black & ABS White
Build Time:  3 hours 30 minutes

Screenshots prior printing:

Outcome:

Implications:

  • This was printed in mere 3 hours and 30 minutes – shortened the production time by a significant gap.
  • This allows manufacturers to better streamline their current operations without fuss.
  • More importantly, this flexibility provides a significant competitive advantage to manufacturers as they have shorter turn around time!

 

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