igus recently stopped by Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to exhibit its plethora of products and services to local customers (and curious passersby). Make Parts Fast and the Design World editorial team had the pleasure of interviewing igus experts on its latest innovations. Here’s what DeAngelo Barrow, regional sales manager at igus, explained about the 3D printing service and wear-resistant parts.
Make Parts Fast: Can you give us a quick overview of your 3D printing service?
DeAngelo Barrow: Sure, additive manufacturing has become a point of emphasis over the last few years because we want to make sure that our customers can get parts fast and don’t have to wait a few weeks. So, we started with FDM printing — that’s your basic filament that you normally see on a lot of simple printers. From there, we went into SLS printing, which is a little more intricate in terms of capabilities, and we’re able to make those parts a lot faster. A part that would probably take a week to print, takes us a few hours.
We’re able to get better wear rates, faster lead times, and better prices. So, we’re trying to make sure our customers are more aware. Oftentimes, people look for parts for prototypes, and they pay to do some bar stock machining that’ll probably end up being 30 bucks. Or, they can do some printing, get it within seven days, and it’s going to be two or three dollars. So, we’re trying to make sure that we can push this out or get it into as many people’s hands as possible.
MPF: Are you focusing on prototyping? Or are you able to produce final parts?
Barrow: We can produce final products, it just depends on the volume. We could make 10,000 pieces if you’d like, but unfortunately, it would take up our whole printer and no one else would be able to get parts. So we cap it at about 100 pieces, and anything more than that we would go to a machining option. We also just released what we call FastLine services. It’s not necessarily additive manufacturing, but it’s in the same realm, where we’re able to do a fully injection molded tool and can injection mold parts for you and deliver them in seven days.
People love that because they’re getting an injection molded part within a few weeks — literally within a week or two. But it’s still a little bit more expensive than doing the SLS printing. So, if you’re looking for 1,000 pieces and you don’t mind spending a few grand on a tool, FastLine services is going to be a lot more beneficial than doing a standard tool in Germany, because then you’re looking at about 16 weeks lead time. So, we have a few different avenues for fast delivery, everything from SLS printing, FDM printing, FastLine services, even machining bar stock — a little bit of everything for every customer.
MPF: What materials do you have available?
Barrow: For our FDM, right now we have three materials. Our J260 is more of a high-temp material. We do have food grade material as well. And then, if someone is not familiar with printing or doesn’t have as much experience, I start with our simple I150. This is a super easy filament to process and is going to be a lot more intuitive.
For the SLS printing, we have five materials right now. Our I3 is the simple material, and we have more of an automotive type of material. We also have an FDA material and a high-temp as well. So, it just depends on the application on which we’ll start with. But again, all of them have great wear rates. However, we do not offer these as a bushing, for instance. None of these materials are used as a powder or filler.
MPF: Can you tell me how customers can order a part?
Barrow: We have a tool online that you can actually drop your file into. It will ask if you would like free samples, and we’ll get the free samples out to you within seven days. If you would like higher volumes, you can request higher volumes in there. You can also change the material that you want to be processed. So, it’s fairly simple. And most of the time, I’ll make sure that my guys walk through with the customer the first time just to show them how easy it is. After that, they typically just go on, drop the file, and get it from there.
MPF: Where is your 3D printing location?
Barrow: Printing and injection molding are done in Rhode Island. But we have a center in West Bloomfield, Michigan that’s going to be a permanent tradeshow booth. It’s more centralized, rather than far East Coast, and I’m excited to bring customers there.
To learn more about igus’ 3D printing service, visit https://www.igus.com/info/3d-printing-service.
Watch this recap of the igus exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland: