When a Germany-based manufacturer of camera motion systems discovered the need to replace a special bearing, the company turned to igus’ which now offers 3D printing services. In this case, the service was for swift turnaround of the replacement bearing.
igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics, can produce small series and individual high-performance plastics using 3D industrial printers within a matter of hours, such as the application for the camera motion company, Blackcam.
Ferenc Tiefenbach, a Blackcam engineer, frequently exhibits the company’s products at trade fairs. While travelling through Düsseldorf Airport, he was carrying the prototype of a new dolly system developed for soccer matches when he noticed one of the bearings was defective. There was no spare part.
Tiefenbach turned to the igus 3D printing service to produce a new bearing, and shortly thereafter, the engineer had his new part.
Tiefenbach uploaded a CAD model of the part to the igus website, chose a printing material, and placed the order. Parts are shipped usually within 24 hours.
“In my urgent case, I was able to pick up the bearing a few hours after placing the order,” Tiefenbach said about the service. “It is remarkable that, despite the size of the company, igus can produce a single component so quickly,’’ he said. The costs are also reasonable, in this case around $110.
From its broad range of additive manufacturing materials, iglide I180 was chosen for Tiefenbach’s task. The high-performance plastic has good wear resistance.
The material’s superiority over the classic filament made of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) was proven in an experiment in the igus testing laboratory. Plain bearings moved on a 0.37-meter-long, hard anodised aluminium shaft at a speed of 0.34 meters per second and a surface pressure of 0.11 MPa.
In the lab test, the 3D-printed bearing made of ABS showed a wear rate of 13.3 micrometers per kilometer. For the bearing made of iglide I180 over the same distance, the wear was only 0.8 micrometers.
The 3D bearings proved to be more durable and more economical in operation. They enable maintenance-free dry operation without the need for lubrication and were an ideal choice for the camera dolly systems from Blackcam.
With its 3D printing service, igus produces self-lubricating special parts, such as unique plain bearings, in a matter of hours.