When it comes to manufacturing parts, confidence is everything. Engineers understand that additive manufacturing (AM) can be used to print jigs, fixtures, tooling and production components. Whether they choose to use the technology for critical end-use parts and applications, however, generally comes down to their level of confidence in whether or not the part is stiff and/or strong enough to withstand the rigours of use.
Finding a definitive answer to the question ‘how strong is strong enough?’, however, hasn’t always been easy to quantify. Traditionally, the best way to determine strength has been through one of two options: (1) trial and error - to print, test and iterate each design – or (2) to overdesign the part and hope that will work. Neither approach is ideal and both result in wasting valuable time, materials and throughput, all adding up to increased costs and significantly narrowing any advantages AM has over traditional machining.
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