FATHOM, GoEngineer’s manufacturing service partner, is on the forefront of testing emerging additive technologies for prototyping and production applications. Recently, its applications engineering team explored the practical use of its in-house Studio System by Desktop Metal. The GoEngineer team sells and supports 3D printing systems from Desktop Metal, and we were excited to see the results!
The engineers took a stock engine component, 3D scanned it, refined the CAD file, additively built it, post-machined key features, and successfully installed it in the engine of a FATHOMers Volkswagen van. The objective was to test the accuracy, ease-of-use, and functionality of Desktop Metal’s bound metal deposition (BMD) process in a real-world application.
To get started, they first 3D scanned the casted rocker arm using their in-house FARO laser scanner. From there, the team took the point cloud data generated from the scanner and created a watertight mesh. Using Fusion360, they were then able to model critical features to lay over the scanned data (see image below).
After that, all digital layers were merged and converted it to a single STL file. Next came the fabrication phase. While using their Desktop Metal Studio 3D printer, they were able to additively build the final STL file in 17-4 PH stainless steel. After 3D printing the part, the rocker arm went through a debinding and sintering process, during which they subtracted the rocker arm shape from a blank soft jaw template.
Instead of typically CNC machining the fixture, they more quickly 3D printed it in VeroWhite on a PolyJet-based system (a great out-the-box way to utilize that Stratasys technology commonly used for prototyping). With the fixture ready to go, they machined the center hole of the rocker arm and installed it in the engine of a FATHOMer’s 1987 Volkswagen van.
For more information, read the complete Q&A on FATHOM’s blog. Also be sure to check out their recently published 8-page editorial on how to get the most out of additive manufacturing in DesignWorld.