In a case study, the companies LUMO and Eplus3D show how 3D printing can be used to quickly and cost-effectively produce prototypes of large metallic components. Specifically, this involved shafts for screw compressors with the considerable size of 100 x 100 x 400 mm.
Due to the complexity with free-form surfaces, conventional manufacturing methods such as milling would have been very time-consuming and expensive. According to the project partners, however, 3D printing was convincing due to short delivery times, a high degree of design freedom and the ability to select an optimal material.
The shafts were ultimately manufactured using a powder bed process on metal 3D printers from Eplus3D. The CX material provided the required hardness and durability. Subsequent machining ensured an accurate-fitting final result that passed all functional tests.
According to LUMO and Eplus3D, the example impressively demonstrates that 3D printing can be a cost-effective alternative to conventional large-scale production of complex metallic components – without having to compromise on quality.