A Prefix customer needed a tooling fixture used to apply automotive decals redesigned due to several problems inherent with the existing configuration. The original tool was a multi-piece assembly made up of machined aluminum and nylon, making it sub-optimal for several reasons:
- Considerable weight (15 – 20 lbs. depending on vehicle) causing operator fatigue
- Dimensional inaccuracies from tolerance stack-ups inherent with a multi-part assembly
- Vehicle damage due to difficulty in handling
- Excessive time to make and assemble
Prefix engineers redesigned the tool so it could be 3D printed, leveraging the technology’s design freedom and lighter materials.
The tool was printed using a Stratasys F770 large-format printer, taking advantage of its large 13 cubic-feet build volume. This provided the capability to make the bulk of the tool as a single part and use off-the-shelf handles, avoiding the need to make and assemble multiple pieces.
3D printing the redesigned tool using a Stratasys F770 provided several key benefits:
- Over 70% weight reduction affording much easier use
- Single-piece design with accommodation for stock handles, avoiding assembly
- Elimination of positioning inaccuracies from tolerance stack-ups
- Significantly reduced chances of vehicle damage
- Accurate decal placement from better tool positioning due to a more effective design
- 100% first time quality results achieved using the fixture on over 100 units