Non-assembly mechanisms in additive manufacturing

Non-assembly mechanisms in additive manufacturing
Non-assembly mechanisms in additive manufacturing

In the September/October 2016 edition of 3D fab+print magazine Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Gebhardt, Dean of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics at Aachen University of Applied Sciences in Germany wrote an interesting article about non-assembly mechanisms.

Maybe the biggest advantage of additive manufacturing is its ability to create sheer unlimited geometric structures. This ‘freedom of design’ liberates engineering designers from restrictions, such as the need to split products into pieces that then have to be manufactured separately and assembled afterwards. In addition, with additive manufacturing, there is no need to store parts, and the logistic effort is decreased. In his article Mr Gebhardt addresses how additive manufacturing can alter the way moving parts are made, and has a close look on which processes and materials are best for achieving this.

“Additive manufacturing allows us to make parts that simply cannot be manufactured in a non-additive manufacturing process,” Mr Gebhardt writes when he discusses static parts. Regarding articulated parts he says “additive manufacturing parts can also be made as articulated structures such as chains. If one or more horizontal layers are skipped during the build, and the bores around the hinges are augmented by approx. 10%, the resulting gaps allow the parts to move” and then he
Continues to explain this can be achieved with numerous additive manufacturing processes.

Mr. Gebhardt also provided many images to illustrate what he explains, of 3D printed fabrics for example, as well as a gripper system using a fin-shaped structure, and an epicycloid gear. To receive the full article, please contact Jolanda Heunen.

Image credits, clockwise, starting top left: Endless Chain. Polymer Jetting. Source: Stratasys/Objet; Hydraulic manifold. SLM. Source: 3T RPD Ltd; 3D printed dress. Lasersintering of polyamide. Source: Nervous System, Shapeways; Assembly box with a double lid, attached by a hinge and a flexure
Source: 1:1 Prototypen