ThermoFab uses the Rize 3D printer to produce fixtures for setting up production rather than using blocks of CNC machined aluminium. Focused primarily on the medical, industrial, computer and armed services markets, ThermoFab has an impressive portfolio of clients who require custom plastic enclosures in quantities ranging from dozens to thousands.
Leading the way with 3D Printing
Tom King, President of ThermoFab, believes in leading, not following. This innovative philosophy drove his interest in adopting 3D printing at ThermoFab. After observing the 3D printing industry for a year and carefully evaluating Stratasys and Rize 3D printers, he purchased a Rize™ One 3D printer because of its ease and speed of support removal without solvents following 3D printing.
“We produce low-volumes of high-end equipment, producing 5-10 or up to 100’s of parts per month and they have to be right,” Tom explains. “Producing aluminum blocks took longer than 3D printing.” ThermoFab’s engineers also use Rize One to produce prototypes of small thermoformed parts, such as faceplates, faceplate backings, housings and more for form and function testing before manufacturing the final product. “We make customer parts look nice, no matter what they’re covering,” Tom states.
Speeding the process, reducing errors, cutting costs
Using Rize One instead of CNC machining to manufacture fixtures is speeding Thermofab’s process, at lower cost. Moreover, 3D printing saves time by eliminating tooling errors. Rize 3D printing is also reducing errors before expensive tooling is cut. In one case, for example, a 3D CAD model of a very large part was created from a 2D drawing, scaled-down and 3D printed prior to cutting the tooling. Printing the part exposed a curve in the design that couldn’t previously be detected in the actual part, averting a costly error. “We’re happy with every fixture we’ve made,” Tom tells.
The more you play, the more you learn
Always innovating, ThermoFab also produces experimental parts on their Rize One 3D printer, testing the possibilities to continuously improve their process and expand their services. For example, they plan to use Rize 3D printing technology to manufacture tooling. “The more you play, the more you learn and the more you learn, the better you get at it,” Tom concludes.