Newsletter #05

RapidPro 2018 fair and conference

On March 7th and 8th the 3D&FPP partnership was present at the RapidPro fair in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Many of the exhibitors showed their solutions for 3D printing, scanning or CAD/CAM solutions. It proved 3D&FPP to be the only project tackling all challenges in one project. At the booth, we displayed the scanner and the mirror object, our 3D&FPP dedicated object designed to comprise all challenges of the project. Besides the booth, the partnership also presented their project and work at the RapidPro conference.

Jurjen Lengkeek of RDM Makerspace took the crowded audience along the challenges in 3D printing of large and small objects, postprocessing and integrating the two. By showing the conventional way of 3D printing, it was pointed out that simply adding post processing to the production chain, is not integration, nor is it reducing overall production time and costs.

Integration of post processing requires cunning solutions for clamping, mapping and milling and polishing, which have to be implemented into one smart and efficient production chain. The challenge is to locate and map the object, establish and translate the required post processing steps with a minimum of support structures and reclamping and repositioning actions. This proves to be a mere quest of interfacing and IT. Moreover, the projects’ goal is to design a process that works as an add-on to existing machines. Since existing machines have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years, a system will be created that can be retrofitted. In this way, the project even has a significant impact on the short term.

BNR Nieuwsradio
On Wednesday, May 2nd, the EU presented their multi-year budget for 2021-2027. A reason for Dutch radio, BNR Nieuwsradio, to address this in a special topic. Together with Marjolein Nijhuis, partner/consultant at Plus Projects and Jacobine van den Brink, professor of European and Dutch Administrative law, we talked about the pros and cons of European subsidies, both in generating knowledge as in creating cross border partnerships. The 3D&FPP project served as an example for the practice of executing EU sponsored projects. You can replay the interview here (in Dutch).

Recently the partnership submitted their first annual progress report on 2017 to the Joint Secretariat. Finishing the report also meant finishing Work Package 1, in which a draft for integrated post processing is designed, and the first feasibility tests are performed. This provided insight into the possible gain for reduction of cost and process time. In future work, the partnership will focus on fine tuning the concept, testing and verification of the concept in separate steps.

Meet & greet
During a meeting in the afternoon of June 6th, the partnership will present an update on the course and results of the project. The draft design for integrated post processing and how this will result in a reduction of cost and process time, will be presented and reflected on with the attendees. You are cordially invited to attend this meeting, which will be held at RDM Makerspace, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. If being present in person is not possible, you can also join using our webinar service via this website .

Upcoming events

  • June 6, 2018, Steering Committee Meeting, Annual meeting with the Joint Secretariat of Interreg 2Seas Programme and Informal Progress Meeting

  • June 7, 2018, Technical Meeting

  • November 7th-8th 2018, Prototype Expo, Kortrijk, Belgium

Newsletter 2017 #4

Integration Challenges
With the design phase (Work package 1) now complete, this project has a defined concept of an integrated system and workflow, and selection of a CAM platform. Together with the four defined user cases and lessons learned during the introductory training by 3T, all the implications and challenges for an integrated post processing approach were identified. Integration of the various post processing steps (clamping, scanning, CAD/CAM and polishing) proved to be a challenge. For each step has its own interface and requirements, while the integration is to be applied not only to the printing and post processing production itself, also for the workflow and the design principles as a whole.

With the completion of the design phase of the project, the partnership now reached a waypoint in the research trail. In order to tackle the defined challenges, a Fast Prototyping Approach (FPA) will be applied, which means early testing and verification of the concept in separate steps. With this FPA the partnership even aims at a full-scale test setup in November 2018, where all interested organizations are invited to visit. Check out our newsletters and website on the progress of the full-scale testing.

RapidPro 2018
The 3D&FPP project consortium will be present at the RapidPro 2018 trade fair, booth 49. During the RapidPro conference, Mr. J. Lengkeek will present the partnership, the project and current results. He will be talking on the state of art of the four concepts when integrating post processing: clamping, mapping, CAD/CAM and polishing. The main focus of the presentation will be on the challenge to realise a flexible, affordable and universal solution for integrating post processing, considering interfacing and integration problems. See

Partner news

In November last year, RAMLAB (co-founded by partner RDM Makerspace and the Rotterdam Port Authority) unveiled the world’s first class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller. This ground-breaking success is the result of a close collaboration between RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk, Bureau Veritas and Damen.

The propeller is printed using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing techniques, weighs 180 kg and contains 298 layers of Nickel Aluminium Bronze alloy. The printing process took 240 hours and provided a net-near-shape result, after which the propeller needed to be post processed. This took another 2 weeks, which altogether lowered the lead time for a propeller significantly.

Spanning over 130 cm, it is a perfect replica of the originally casted version and put to test on a Damen Stan Tug 1606 vessel. The testing program included bollard pull and crash stop testing in addition to speed trials. “Of course, we were all a bit nervous beforehand – after all, innovation always comes with a certain amount of unknowns – but the testing was a success,” says Kees Custers, Damen Project Engineer R&D enthusiastically.

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Newsletter 2017 #3

We’re on our Way!
The project has reached its first milestone! Most of the design work is now finished and the project is moving towards the crucial step of an integrated design. But as expected in most innovative research projects, this affects the approach planned to achieve the objectives. The partners are now reviewing a new approach to resolve the challenges that must be overcome in the next two phases, focussing on system development and validation.

The roadmap towards an integrated design comprises of three work packages; Design (WP1), Development (WP2) and Validation (WP3). The first work package, Design, identified the requirements, methods, physical tools and algorithms for an integrated design. The second and third work packages successively deal with the development and validation of the integrated post processing production line.

The state of the art research on clamping and polishing (WP1) has provided a good insight into both post processing and 3D metal printing. Together with the requirement studies (WP3), the first contour, consequences and challenges for an integrated design are set. The prototype for a fast and affordable post processing solution is expected in 2019.

3D&FPP Animation
At the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting (September 2017) an introductory movie was launched to explain the 3D&FPP project in 2.5 minutes. The aim of the movie was to capture and explain the challenges of 3D metal printing, followed by explaining the goals and objectives of the 3D&FPP project. The movie can be viewed here.

RapidPro 2018
The 3D&FPP project consortium will be participating at the RapidPro 2018 conference and trade fair. We will be looking forward to sharing information about the project, its objectives and preliminary results through our presentation during the conference and our exhibition stand at the fair. Please stop by to learn more about innovative design rules, workflow and the system integrations we are working on.

Partner news

Quality Control for Metal Printing TNO has been working for several years on thermal modelling of 3D metal printing to fully understand the process, with the aim to get builds right first time. This was realised for ‘selective laser melting’ process in a Public Private Cooperation Project Materials (Metals) for AM, and a ‘direct energy deposition’ process in the H2020 Borealis project.

One of the main activities of the projects was thermal modelling of the parts during the build process. Changes in melt pool temperature can affect the properties of the final part, and therefore need to be minimised. Models were used to fully understand these temperature variations, and where possible, compensate for the changes. These models were then validated, and the results were presented on the SimAM conference in Munich on 11-13 October 2017.

Value Engineering Hittech has shared their view on the application of smart machining approach as part of value engineering in an article recently published in Bits and Chips, No. 9. Read the full article here .

‘AM-Minded’ Engineering
According to 3T RPD, to fully benefit from additive manufacturing, engineers need to be ‘AM-minded’ from design to finished component. Simply transposing designs from extractive manufacturing to additive manufacturing is not effective. You can read the full article and watch the associated video here.

Upcoming events
- RapidPro 2018, March 7th & 8th, 2018. The 3D&FPP will be present and lecturing at the trade fair and conference.
- 4th Steering Committee, March 2018, TNO AM Eindhoven (NL)

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Newsletter 2017 #2

Since January 2017 the work on the 3DFPP project intensified and the first deliverables are finished. These deliverables act as waypoints on the way to the flexible post processing production line and are divided over the three main work packages: design, development and pilot user cases. Meanwhile, a second Technical Meeting has taken place, in which the major design questions were articulated and discussed.

In work package 1, the design phase of the project, the tools, algorithms, methods and software are to be designed, providing an interface for the post processing operations from part design and scanned data. This post processing consists of four steps: clamping, scanning, CAM and polishing. 3T has provided all partners with a printed specimen of the mirror object, the project-defined user case which combines all the contemporary challenges in 3D (metal) printing.

mirror object illustration

TNO, Argon, Exeter and Hittech finished their research on the state of art for their expertise, respectively clamping, scanning, CAM products and polishing. Argon presented their first results on mapping the printed mirror object and Exeter on comparing the CAD model and scanned model.

Chicken and egg
The State of art research resulted in the definition of the requirements for the separate steps of post processing. In turn, these requirements provide a design and proposal for improvements for the integration of post processing and 3D metal printing. This proves however to be a chicken and egg situation, in which the chicken is the level of integration and the egg the perspective of integration.
The challenge is now to define the approach of integration and tackle the related key problems and resulting requirements.

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Newsletter 2017 #1

In July 2016 an Interreg 2Seas subsidy was granted for the Integrating 3D Metal Printing & Flexible Post Processing project, 3D&FPP. In this project the expertise of seven partners will be combined, like the clamping, mapping and polishing of the printed parts, and Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM). The project aims at the reduction of production time and costs by developing a flexible and affordable post processing solution.

The period from July until December 2016 was marked by the completion of the mandatory documents to the Interreg Joint Secretariat, the first meetings and final definition of the project. The partners got to know each other and appointments were made. By January 2017 all duties were completed and the focus shifted from the administrative to the substantive work of the project.

The project consists of four main elements to be integrated: clamping, scanning, polishing and CAD/CAM-systems. It comprises three dedicated work packages (design, development & pilot user cases), divided over three consecutive years. The four elements will be integrated and validated by the use of user cases stemming from different disciplines: aviation, maritime and the semiconductor industry. Also other disciplines are researched for involvement.
In the design phase of the project, the requirements are set, the state of the art is studied and user cases are defined. A feasibility study will then prepare the prototyping phase, after which the components will be integrated and validated by means of the user cases.

User cases
Our observer partners will present the user cases. So far we are working on a hinge, gearbox and cooling core. Also a general setup was made to test the overall specs of the system. A startling number of 24 observer partners is supporting this project, for example through the provision of actual user cases. Nonetheless, we invite all organisations to come up with challenging user cases to validate the intended setup for post processing.

2nd Steering Committee Meeting
On March 29th the project partners got together for their 2nd Steering Committee meeting, including the technical kick-off by 3T and site visit to the production facilities of 3T. In this meeting the project partners discuss the regular project management items and project progress. Besides the regular project management items, discussions were held on the challenges the project encounters. Although it might seem as a rather straightforward project, the level of integration to be achieved and the way the quality measurements should be performed, complicate integrating the separate post processing steps. The project also has to account for the rapid developments in the field of additive manufacturing. These and other technical items were discussed in a separate Technical Meeting, held on April 12th in Rotterdam.

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