Simulate Early, Simulate Often... In Rhino
We have just received our first SNS 3D prints...
In our quest for ever-improved products, this will take our discussions with toolmakers, injection moulders, materials specialists and so forth to a new level.
To wit - this is a little (chair) mechanism housing we have been considering changing from cast zinc to glass reinforced polypropylene. There has been some further thought on that, however, and we are now considering recycled carbon fibre reinforcement.
A: Rising metal prices (steel has just gone up 5% again and zinc will follow)
A: Transport costs (lighter components are less expensive to move around)
A: Eliminate machining for the gas mechanism (further reducing time/cost)
A: Keep product pricing competitive while maintaining/enhancing performance
The original zinc casting was modelled in Rhino and anaysed with SNS to give us an idea of strength (since it has been 100% reliable). It was then carefully redesigned hand-in-glove with SNS, which allowed us to avoid using a metal sleeve for the gas unit, making it recycle friendly.
The 3D print (pic attached) represents PP+GF30% at full load with "Maximum Shear Stress" mapping. Admittedly, there is still some work to be done, but we can now look forward to some nitty-gritty discussions with specialist manufacturers.
Many thanks to Bryan Bullock at 'Rapid 3D Printing' in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) for fast, world class service. Sincere thanks to Vadim and the SNS team! - The VRML2 export function works perfectly.