Automotive Engineering

CASE STUDY: How TXMR Showcase Chassis Jig Solution Through 3D Printing

Automotive Plant

TXMR Sdn Bhd is a full fledge manufacturing solution provider that mainly focuses on automotive industry, in particular, precision die cut components and manufacturing support products. They provide a complete manufacturing engineering services ranging from ideas, research and development, prototyping to mass production for mechanical and electrical engineering.

As a manufacturing solution provider, TXMR has automated the process of assembling chassis for various automobiles.

As it involves a complex mechanism in automating the chassis, TXMR find it hard to explain this process in particular to their clients.

They tried creating concept models with wood or cupboard paper but it didn’t help much.

Until they decided to 3D print it.

In this post, we will be sharing on what are the challenges faced by TXMR and why they decided to go ahead with 3D printing the gantry rail and crane.

The Process of Chassis Assembly

For a small scale unique production like racing car, the small team would produce a chassis jig to assembly and weld the chassis together.

However when it comes to mass manufacturing things are different.

It is inefficient to rely on manual labour to carry chassis parts individually for welding.

While the simple chassis jig is still valid, but it doesn’t help in solving the challenges faced in assembling and welding process.

With its unique gantry crane and railway, TXMR is able to automate the process through structural engineering to transport the respective automotive parts. This not only helps in holding chassis parts together, but it also help in moving parts for assembly and welding.

With this unique advantage, the challenge for TXMR now is to communicate efficiently with their clients on how can this process adds value to them.

Using Concept Models to Communicate with Clients

Their intention was simple – creating a concept model that can showcase how it works.

Gantry Crane in STL Format

Gantry Crane in STL Format

Conventional method in producing concept models not only seep away their staff’s productivity but it proves to be disrupting their time and production schedule as the traditional concept models couldn’t clearly articulate how the process adds value to their clients.

And that is how they stumble upon 3D printing the concept models.

Gantry Railway

Gantry Railway

Laser Focus on Core Business Activities

The conventional method requires a minimum of 5 days to produce a concept model while the staff struggled to cope with their main tasks.

The concept model costs less than RM 250 and it was printed in ABS, a thermoplastic material. With 3D printer in place, it only took them 8 hours while staffs can focus on their existing fabrication and design engineering project.

While 3D printing concept model is not new, it allows TXMR to focus on tasks that mattered to the business.

To learn more about industrial application for 3D printing – check out our industrial guide which is tailored made for specific industries.

 

 

Petzl Sitta

CASE STUDY: Doing Quality Testing on Petzl Sitta with Customized Jig

Petzl Sitta

Petzl Manufacturing Malaysia uses their jigs and fixtures measure of quality assurance for their product – Petzl Sitta.

While making jig and fixture is nothing new, what’s interesting is the way Petzl Manufacturing Malaysia integrate 3D printing into their existing processes.

If you own a manufacturing floor you would be very familiar with the usefulness of jig and fixture. They serve as a guide to provide repeatability and consistency.

Be it increasing productivity, or guiding assembly for the product, at the end of the day, jig and fixture helps in ensuring the quality of your product through a standardized dimension and process.

So what does that have to do with 3D printing?

Actually it does.

In this post, we will be sharing on why Petzl Manufacturing Malaysia decided to go ahead with 3D printing jig & fixture and a demonstration on how it works.

#1 Increasing Cost of Jig and Fixture

You won’t have economies of scale while doing jig and fixture.

Jig and fixture was tailored made for specific job across the assembly line. If you have 3 assembly lines with 3 different functions, that means you may potentially need 9 jigs and fixtures.

Assembly Line Example

Assembly line example, imagine CNC that many jig and fixtures.

Do note that manufacturing industry in Malaysia is typically a high-mix industries, which involves a series of different projects with fundamentally different items – this means you need to develop even more jigs and fixtures.

Moreover, considering that the cost of jigs and fixtures made in aluminium – it does not come cheap. With the ever-growing amount of jig & fixture, you would hit a point where you spend more time managing inventory instead of manufacturing them, and this leads to the next point.

#2 Productivity Long Lead Time on Jig & Fixture

To increase productivity whilst maintaining high level of consistency and tolerance is not an easy feat.

What most manufacturers do is to create guides and templates i.e. jig and fixture to maintain quality.

However, spending extra machine capacity on making jig and fixture is  tying up machine tools for production works – which is not money making activity.

On the other hand, outsourcing to other may have issues with lead time that take weeks.

Regardless of your choice, the ultimate issue here is spending time in getting the jig & fixture design right.

The design tolerance and function may not be optimal for the product – simply because machining tools in Malaysia are labor intensive.

With 3D printing, Petzl Manufacturing would just print them out at ease.

Watch How Petzl Uses It For Quality Assurance

This video was recorded during poka-yoke check. Poka-yoke is mistake proofing process that helps Petzl Manufacturing Malaysia to avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). This fool proofing process is meant to eliminate product defects by reducing human errors as they occur.

Here is a closer look on the digital file:

As a harness for mountain climbers, the gold ring needs to be sturdy enough to not buckle when it meets with a light tap. Conforming to it’s light weight design, the gold ring must be within a specified weight to ensure it doesn’t restrict the movement of mountain climbers.

This is why Petzl Manufacturing Malaysia came up with the 3 labels on the right of the jig – “no”, “OK” and “no good” as a testing measurement. As demonstrated in the video, the buckle on jig must not pass through the gold ring on Petzl Sitta to ensure it falls at the OK range.

Integrating 3D Printing as Part of The Core Process

The whole production of the jig only costs 2 hours and 23 minutes to print, with the cost of less than RM 140. This jig in particular was printed in ABS-M30, a thermoplastic material, this application however, is applicable in both technologies, be it FDM or Polyjet.

This not only gives more flexibility and empowering the design team to develop a functional jig, it would also be time saving as well for the company. Issues such as design validation or design iteration can be done without dwindling down on productivity as the whole process is automated.

Simply put, you can allow the machine to run overnight to produce the jig while everyone is resting while not compromising on productivity.

To learn more about industrial application for 3D printing – check out our industrial guide which is tailored made for specific industries.

 

 

Can 3D Printers Print Magnifying Lens?

The design of the 3D printed magnifying lens was inspired by a regular magnifying glass available today. This idea is to test out whether VeroClear material is capable of magnifying objects as well as a normal convex lens. The magnifying theory was used during the design of this lens. Once the theory has been set, the sketch was done in SolidWorks to produce a 3D object for further analysis of the theory.

 

Part Drawing

3D Printed Lens

We also design the second magnifying glass with different dome height (5mm) for testing. At the end the glass with 10mm dome height shown the better result by magnified object.

Based on the technical drawing, the magnifying glass has been design with the same shape with the normal convex lens but with different dimension. Its circle was design with radius 25mm with height 3mm. The dome shape designed with 10mm height at the top of the circle.

 

Finishing (Sanding)

The finishing process of the lens uses several types of abrasive sandpapers. The first phase of the sanding process uses the type-400 abrasive sandpaper. The purpose of this type of sandpaper is to remove the printing lines present on the surface of the lens which was produced during the printing process. Once the lines have been removed, the type-800 sandpaper is then used for the second phase. The purpose of the type of sandpaper is to straighten the sanding lines from the type-400 sandpaper and produces a smooth surface onto the object. For the final phase of the sanding process, type-1000 and type-1200 are used respectively to give a much smoother surface onto the lens. Type-1500 is optional since type-1200 is sufficient to produce the required smoothness.

 

Finishing (Polishing)

The final step of producing lens was by polish the part by using cloth or the buffing machine. The main purpose of polish the Veroclear part was to make that part look very transparent and have a smooth surface. After finish sanding the part by using sandpaper, apply the soft99 (polishing liquid solvent) on its surface. Wait until the soft99 dry and start buff the surface either by using clean cloth or buffer machine. Repeat this process 3 times and its produce a transparent magnifying lens.

 

Conclusion

The results were conclude that the Veroclear material can be polish and produce a transparent glass as normal glass. On these activities also we can conclude that we can produce a 3D printed magnifying lens by using Polyjet technology.

3D Printed Impossible Triangle

The Impossible Triangle

I suppose most of us are pretty familiar with this – impossible triangle optical illusion.

Impossible Triangle Sketch

Impossible Triangle Sketch

 

What about a 3D printed one?

3D Printed Impossible Triangle

3D Printed Impossible Triangle

3D Printed Impossible Triangle - Bottom View

It’s actually curved.

3D Printed Impossible Triangle - Side View

Check out the side view.

Don’t mind the triangle, we were too excited to check out the optical illusion instead of cleaning it properly (it was printed in rubber-like material from Polyjet). Do you have any optical illusion stuff to share with us?

3D Printed Pin3D Printed Pinhole Camera From The Fronthole Camera Front View

Pinhole Camera Designed By Primary School Student

You wouldn’t believe that a primary school student with NO experience in CAD software manage to design a pinhole camera, check out how it looks like below.

Outcome:

3D Printed Pin3D Printed Pinhole Camera From The Fronthole Camera Front View

3D Printed Pinhole Camera From The Front

We started this project few months back to teach student on how to design using SolidWorks and also printing out their designed models. This model in particular was printed with Polyjet.

So… this is what we get after weeks of nurturing. We have to say we were really surprised, at the same time honored to see such an astounding result. Kudos to the student who designed this!

Symphoy 3D Printed Gift_Side

Embedding Application in 3D Printing

3D Printing has been flexible in many ways and of course – even in embedding IT chips. It is widely known that this technology is capable of integrating electronics into the prototype, just by pausing and inserting the chip. During our preparation for SolidWorks Innovation Day, we toyed around this similar concept, but instead of chips, we wanted to embed words within the gift.

Here Is What We Did:

File Source: Own design
Technology: Polyjet
Printer:  Objet500 Connex3
Materials: Digital Materials (Cyan, Yellow & Transparent)
Build Time:  2 hours 49 minutes

Screenshots in CAD file:

Symphony 3D Cad File

Symphony 3D Printed Gift

Noticed how it was designed to embed words inside inside the printed transparent frame?

Outcome:

Symphoy 3D Printed Gift_Side

Symphony 3D Printed Gift

Looks pretty cool eh? While we spin off the application onto printing a premium item, this is widely used in both engineering & medical field as for prototyping purposes as well as teaching aid. Check out this medical application by The Engineering here.

From a business perspective, the capability to do multi-material and multi-color printing cut shorts a significant amount of time and error.

  1. Reduced manufacturing layer – no need to go through multiple processes for a single part.
  2. Manufacturing a prototype will go through many manual process and by eliminating these processes, human error will be significantly reduced as well.

There is more to what Polyjet can do, check out our relevant posts below to find out more!

3D Printed iPhone Amplifier_CAD_Top

How We Turn iPhone 4 Into Loud Speaker.

The Story Behind The Idea

With the recent hype on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, we decided to shower some love for its predecessors, and no, we are not doing any bend test.

Just in case you didn’t know, we just ended our nationwide SolidWorks Innovation Day few weeks ago. However during the planning of the event, we were stuck with few things:

  • What innovative lucky draw gift can be given out? It needs to be unique to the receiver (none in the market) yet innovative.
  • It needs to be relevant to the mass participant profile (we wouldn’t want you to receive something that you have no use of).

While we were having casual discussion (still struggling with the lucky draw gift), we realised that most of our customers are using iPhone 4 during our sales visit & past events attendance. That is how we started off with doing something for iPhone 4.

Our Issue With iPhone 4

Most often than not, we “the iPhone” users over here find that the audio speaker seems to be lacking, it is definitely better than majority of the phones where speaker is placed behind, however, placing it bottom doesn’t provide the best experience either. We need an iPhone speaker amplifier.

We did our research and realise that there were many amplifier being sold online. but surprisingly, we didn’t find a 3D printed one. There you go, that’s how we came up with 3D printing an iPhone 4 amplifier.

Here is what we did:

File Source: Own design
Technology:  FDM
Printer:  Idea Series – uPrint SE
Materials: ABS Plus Orange
Build Time:  7 hours 16 minutes

Screenshots in CAD file:

3D Printed iPhone Amplifier_CAD_Top

#IME #SWID2015 3D Printed iPhone Amplifier

It was designed in a way to conveniently stand on its own, you can just simply slot in your iPhone into it vertically and play the music. Hence the printed model needs to be able to support iPhone’s weight (specific endurance).

Outcome:

3D Printed iPhone Amplifier Functional Test

#IME #SWID2015 3D Printed iPhone Amplifier Functional Test

Here you go! While we hope the lucky draw winner is happy with this, more importantly this proves the concept of direct digital manufacturing – where you can simply design & print on demand.

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!

 

3D Printed Aeroplane - Assembled 3

Wind Tunnel Testing with 3D Printed Aeroplane

Wind tunnel test is an integral part of the design process in many industries, especially for aerospace. This is used to verify and study the aerodynamic properties of solid objects such as air velocity and pressure.

Traditionally, concept model made for wind tunnel testing relied heavily on CNC machining. Common materials are metal, plastics and compisites. These operations require programming, machine setup, operator supervision which adds to lead time and cost.

This is where 3D printing comes in. The printed concept model is durable, yet faster, less expensive and more efficient. This is especially useful when it comes to doing hollow printing to simulate internal passages where this would complicate the CNC milling process. Embedding testing equipment into the model is also accessible with 3D printing.

Here is the file source & technology we used:

File Source: Client
Technology:  Polyjet
Printer:  Design Series – Objet30 Pro
Materials: Vero White
Build Time:  4 hours

Screenshots prior printing:

Outcome:

3D Printed Aeroplane

3D Printed Aeroplane for Wind Tunnel Testing.

Implications:

  • In comparison with traditional manufacturing method, 3D printing this concept model will only take a fraction of the original cost in terms of lead time and money.
  • Having more time allows more refinement/improvement  to happen. The potential for improvements is bigger as we take shorter time to produce concept model for testing purposes.
  • Another important factor is the availability of model material. Aerospace and automotive industry in particular study about how weight reduction can assist in overall efficiency. Light weight material from Polyjet machine is able to simulate such environment for a better study result.
3D Printed Mobile Kiosk Assembled - Diagonal View

Concept Model for Mobile Kiosk Cart

When was the last time you “tapau” food from a mobile kiosk? These mobile kiosks are getting immensely popular especially in colleges and universities.

This time, we 3D printed a novel mobile food kiosk for concept modelling. It was designed by an architecture student in Taylor’s University and wanted to see how it will look like – physically.

Here is the file source & technology we used:

File Source: Client
Technology:  FDM
Printer:  Idea Series – uPrint SE Plus
Materials: ABSPlus-P430 Black, ABSPlus-P430 Grey
Build Time:  32 hours (we printed this in 3 batches for assembly purposes)

Screenshots prior printing:

Outcome:

3D Printed Mobile Kiosk Cart

3D Printed Mobile Kiosk Cart, looks pretty cool eh?

Implications:

  • For concept modelling and upon request, this was printed in pieces for assembly to study the design & precision printing. Of course if needed, this can be built in a single print.
  • As this will be detached and reassembled for quite a number of times, we printed this in FDM so it will be more durable.

We’re excited to see new mobile kiosks design coming up and hope that this will breathe a new life into architecture design!