Part Verification and Part Customization
ATI wanted to be able to verify part dimensions and injection mold-ability before purchasing a mold. ATI also wanted to test new products with customers, and verify the need (and want) of the customer before committing to high volume injection molding.
Also injection molding prices have risen and lead times have exponentially increased. ATI needed 5,000 rear sights and 5,000 front sights to be made for an order, but could not get the mold and parts in time.
3D Parts Unlimited and HP
Parts were printed on the EOS Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine in Nylon GF. The parts had high dimensional accuracy and all the necessary end use properties. We were able to print verification parts at a low cost and with quick turnaround time, so ATI could verify customer interest (and later verify the injection molds). We later produced sights as a production job on the HP 4200 Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) machine.
10,000 parts were made in 3 days. These parts were end-use functional parts that were produced at a cost similar to injection molding prices, but with quicker lead times and no upfront costs.
Plus, changing the metal part into plastic reduced the weight of the overall assembly.