Marlin Steel’s Adding New 3D Printing Capabilities

March 10, 2015 | Custom Wire Baskets, American Manufacturing

Over the course of the last year, Marlin Steel has added many new pieces of manufacturing equipment to the factory floor, from an advanced medium frequency direct current welder, to all-new parts finishing machines for deburring, to an industrial straight side press for stamping, coining, piercing and swaging steel wires. Today, we’re proud to announce most recent factory automation innovation to be added to the Marlin Steel factory floor: the AW3D HD2x 3D printer from Air Wolf!

What is a 3D Printer, and how does it Work?

A 3D printer is a device that takes a CAD file from a 3D modeling program and assembles that design using an additive process that creates the 3D object layer by layer until it is complete. There are actually a few different types of 3D printing technology, such as extrusion, wire, and granular-based technologies.

The AW3D HD2x printer acquired by Marlin Steel is an extrusion type printer, with two extruder heads for printing in either two types of material at once, or using two different colors of the same material. While there are different types of extrusion-based 3D printers, this one works by using a spool of filament material, feeding it into a heated extrusion head, and then printing the part using the heated filament to fill out each layer one by one.

Sometimes, the layers that each 3D print model is made of are referred to as “slices.”

The HD2x’s Specs

Features of the HD2x 3D printer include:

  • Ability to print in layers as thin as 60 microns.
  • Dual printing extruder configuration for dual-material, dual-color printing.
  • 2mm z-rod thread pitch.
  • Max operating temperature of 315° C for each extruder head.
  • Ability to print with 20+ materials, including polycarbonate and nylon.
  • Print volume of 11” x 8” x 12”.
  • Able to print from storage media memory (no need to be constantly hooked up to a computer).
  • Print speed of 150mm per second.

This printer, while considered a “desktop” model, is powerful and large enough to handle the manufacture of some complicated parts using materials such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), and nylon as base materials.

Why it Matters to You

Marlin Steel's 3D Printing MachineSo, why should you care about the addition of 3D printing technology to Marlin Steel’s factory floor? There are many reasons.

First, the addition of 3D printers expands Marlin Steel’s options for manufacturing parts for your custom materials handling and washing baskets.

For example, say your basket needs a soft insert to gently hold delicate parts without scratching them. Previously, then main option was to take the existing basket design and coat it completely in PVC. With 3D printing, however, it is possible to make special inserts for the basket to act as supports to hold your part in place snugly, conserving material and potentially minimizing costs.

Another benefit of 3D printing is the ability to make complicated shapes with ease using the dual extrusion heads. One head can lay down the solid material, with the other one filling the shape with limonene-dissolvable HIPS to enable the creation of intricate patterns that would be incredibly expensive or difficult to recreate using traditional injection molds.

Finally, the big benefit of 3D printing is the ability to rapidly manufacture objects without excessive tooling costs. This allows Marlin Steel to custom manufacture components in-house for limited production runs.

An example of when this would be beneficial for you is in the manufacture of a small run of highly-complicated custom parts washing/holding baskets. A 3D printer can make small parts for such a basket run so that you don’t have wait for special tooling to be done so that your basket can be made.

If you’re curious about 3D printing, and how it can be used for your custom wire and sheet metal basket orders, contact Marlin Steel today to learn more.

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