In the realm of manufacturing and parts production, three dimensional printed parts have taken center stage. Their ultimate in part complexity as well as relative decrease in time to produce parts makes printed parts very appealing for many manufacturing sectors. The technology behind printing 3D metal parts is diverse and rapidly changing, but the concept is largely the same. A company called 3DEO has developed a rapid prototype machine that can print metal components and finish machine them in the same workspace. The current 3DEO machines use a common metal layering technique that has been usable in the aerospace and automotive industries, but less accepted due to limitations in production and part surface finish. 3DEO’s production machines have the ability to create 3D printed parts, then machine them in final passes using micro machining centers that spin at approximately 60 thousand revolutions per minute. The company has also created a “cloud” type manufacturing concept, capable of taking parts geometry and translating into machining instructions rapidly, allowing the issues of workspace code creation to be handled completely by software and thus eliminating the human component in component manufacturing. Metal printing parts as a technology has grown significantly recently and has begun to be more widely accepted as a method of rapid production. In addition to creating the machines necessary to print and machine components, 3DEO has also taken on production of components for various manufacturing companies, and expects to scale up production significantly in the upcoming years. By volume, the company has become the largest production manufacturer in the world, in the space of small component three dimensional printed parts. The company’s growth has been reflected in recent expansion of their manufacturing facility in Torrance California. The company has also hired significant personnel to handle the increase in demand for both their manufacturing capabilities and the machines that they create.
-taken from www.sae.org