Re: 3D Keltool

From: Brad Fox (
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 23:08:37 EET

Sorry it took awhile to get back to you. You brought up a very good point
though that needs some additional explaination beyond what our press release
could do.

At 03:34 PM 2/16/99 -0600, you wrote:
>I'm interested in the 3D Keltool technology mentioned in the RTT press
>release: particularly in the comment concerning the Keltool technology
>of 2 1/2 years ago not being the technology of today. Anyone had
>experience with the old technology or the new compared with the old?
RTT became the second Licensee of Keltool in the U.S. Fusion Engineering is
the other who has posted quite a bit here on this forum. Prior to
purchasing the License and the facility here I did some extensive due
diligence on exactly WHAT 3D Systems had done since buying Keltool in 1996.

Please understand that I went into this with a mindset of skeptisism. I had
used Keltool in my RP service bureau off and on since 1991. I had some good
projects. I also had some (really bad) failures. Again, I wanted to know
what 3D had found and how they were able to make today's claims of it being
reliable enough to sell licenses.

3D's initial efforts when they first purchased it was to revisit the entire
process start to finish. They reconnected with the original 3M engineers to
benchmark the process. In essence they started over from scratch. In the
process, they uncovered a number of important parameters that explained alot
about what was currently happening (the lack of consistency, accuracy,
etc.). From this R&D, they employed a corrective path. While a NDA does not
allow me to go into much more detail, here's a synopsis of how the Keltool
of today is different from even several years ago:

1) Size - it's not 4x4x4 any more! Inserts up to 5.90 x 8.50 x 5.75" (150 x
215 x
145mm) and maximum volume of 144 in3 (2.3L3) can be processed reliably.

2) Accuracy - like RP in general, "accuracy" can be defined in many
different ways relative to the application. I can say that my due diligence
allowed me to talk to many, many injection molders who have stated that the
Keltool of today has fit well into their IM accuracy requirements. For high
end accuracy, Keltool has never claimed to meet this need. It certainly
applies that since we start with a master, there begins the definition of
how accurate the A6 Steel inserts will be.

3) Repeatability - I have first hand experience that the Keltool of old was
inconsistent and all over the map!
What impressed me most, was that today, repeatability has been achieved.
Keltool works each and every
time IF you follow the process correctly.

What Keltool has NOT had since it's 3M days (Tartan Tooling) is a full time
R&D team. 3D Systems seems super committed to this. I met their entire R&D
staff and improvements to Keltool is their sole focus. I believe that in
some ways, the proof of the results is that 3D Systems is now licensing the
technology successfully.

While this may sound a little "salesy" I want the readers to understand that
I believe it's very important to rapid product development to have Keltool
around. Having been around and used the Keltool technology since 1991, I'm
glad to see someone finally give it the R&D attention it needed. No, it's
NOT a silver bullet for every Tooling application. But I believe that it's
now a viable "tool" in the "toolbox" that should be strongly considered.
Fusion Engineering has stated a number of times how they use it as part of
their overall tooling solution. So do we. We specialize in uncovering those
applications where Keltool is assured success. Where it doesn't apply, we
wont use it. However, as I follow up on the large number of inserts that are
shipped out of our offices every week, I can say with assurance, Keltool
works well!

Hope this helps!

Brad Fox
Rapid Tooling Technologies

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