Re[2]: dtm rapid tooling

Date: Fri Oct 24 1997 - 06:39:34 EEST

     Ok so material costs are high compared to AL or Steel... But who fills
     the Sinterstation chamber at 65% capacity and uses all that material
     in one tool build? US$14,000 in metal equates to 437.5 lbs. of
     RapidSteel. This is significantly more than the any size mold capable
     of being grown in one build. Having recently completed a tool build
     with cavity @7.5" x 4.3" x 3.8" @75% density weighed in @25#.
     Assuming the core was the same size and grown at the same time that's
     50#s or $1,600 @cost for material, possibly 4x QC7 or P-20. If you
     expect to grow large molds with high Z heights you're asking for
     trouble. The metal weight in powder upon itself, before polymer
     infiltration, can cause deformations to the mold. A good and simple
     example of this can be seen in the conformal cooling lines. If the 3D
     mold CAD model does not leave sufficient wall thickness from the part
     side to the cooling channel collapsing can occur. Experience and
     recognition of the process limitations are an essential ingredient for
     success. I've only addressed material issues!
     Without addressing the other potential savings on bench labor, one
     fact can be said today. DTM's process has opportunities to equal
     other machining processes "based on its present state of the art".
     Complex surface geometry (compound surfaces) are naturals for
     consideration. Simple boxes or a high concentration of engineering
     features/details (e.g.. AMP type connectors) are simply out of the
     question "based on its present state of the art"
     DTM has proved to be an excellent partner supplier. They continue to
     add value. Since we've started our training Feb'97 for Rapidtool, DTM
     has introduced one major technical improvement. This improved
     accuracy and surface quality significantly. Additionally, they
     continue to facilitate our process management as soon as we call
     including sending their key people to help resolve problems. Our
     largest hurdle in getting it right was our own inability to understand
     the necessity for process management from the CAD model through the
     finished tool. Only once was our success stifled by a DTM system
     technical issue and never a mysterious material issue. The "state of
     the art" continues to improve and the useful application of this
     breakthrough technology is bright. My opinion as a user.
     Ok so what's the shake out when it comes to overall costs compared to
     other machining processes... DTM better not quite now! But 2-3x
     conventional? That would tell me someone did not understand or cross
     examine the marketing rhetoric with their own brain. DTM never and
     still does not profess to be moldmakers. Why would any mold maker buy
     into all that rhetoric. If in fact if it was true on one mold, how
     the heck can you apply that as a general truth to all part
     I think the issue on selecting process is resource dependent. That is
     what kinds of people and machines sit on your shop floor. We've
     automated the machining processes significantly but they continue to
     need skilled human intervention. All the processes need this. Where
     is our diminishing resource. It's certainly not in machine
     technology. If you are a moldmaker and hiring skilled people you'll
     know this is the issue. Even those that are available have recognized
     their marketability based on their knowledge. Sooooo their price tag
     is going up.
     Rapidtool from DTM was initially embraced by bureaus having the DTM
     SLS process in house already. It may be they based their initial
     Rapidtool buy decision on their successful experiences from rapid
     prototyping and their market share. Tweak the machine, improve the
     materials when all else fails put it on the bench to tune it in and
     get right. We've continued to hammer the machine makers and the
     material suppliers plus learned a few tricks of our own. Rapid
     prototyping is better and gets better because there was commitment to
     success and this meant you had to be a pioneer.
     The DTM process is pure in concept. 3D CAD part model to 3D CAD mold
     model to mold. No transfer process from pattern to rubber mold to
     poured goop. No pattern to temporary mold to metal deposition to
     backup system. Reduction of steps equals reduction of potential error
     Sorry for the editorial. But it seems to me that DTM introduced an
     innovation in 4Q 1995 and its 2 years old. At SME RP&M'97 people
     where attempting diminish its innovations because of their own
     failures, blaming DTM and not themselves. If your reading this
     counterpoint your a member of a forward thinking group of individuals
     who should take pride in that. Close mindedness or not continuing to
     take risk outside the box will not set you apart from the followers.
     Wounded, scared but not dead... There's another hill but I still see
     the horizon.
     A Rapidtool user.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: RE: dtm rapid tooling
Author: Phil Malone <> at INTERNET
Date: 10/21/97 10:28 AM

Hi Barney Sing
Thanks for the costing information , it is refreshing to get a users =
opinion of a process rather than a sales driven one .
What cost per Kilo does the DTM metal powder material work out to be ( =
$100US/Kg?) if so then that appears to be a competitive=20
disadvantage for this process .
Did some of your costs come from the amount of finishing / polishing =
work required on the inserts? and how did the accuracy stack up for a =
typical injection mould component .
Our requirements are for producing prototype injection moulds quickly =
and cheaply for typical runs of 200 parts for life testing prior to =
final design and production tooling release .
Phil Malone
From: Barney Sing
Sent: Friday, 17 October 1997 11:32
To: Phil Malone
Subject: dtm rapid tooling
an ambitious task... rapid tooling!
Our company used and invested in DTM Rapid Tooling.
We found the process to be more expensive than conventional AL tooling.
$14K US dollars to fill a Sinterstation 2000 only 65% full.
A huge amount of AL can be purchased for this amount.
Relatively, our "cost" of a DTM rapid tool was 2-3 times that of
conventional tooling methods... Most part geometries of comparable
complexity only achieved a 3-5 day increase in time. Yet cost us -not
the customer- 2-3 times more. =20
We are no longer using DTM's Rapid Tooling.
Barney Sing Global Tool and Engineering
Ph: 972.241.4300 Ext. 107 Fx: 972.241.3195

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