A China-based, British-owned rapid manufacturer has launched a combined 3D metal printing and CNC machining service. AddSub Manufacturing from Star Prototype, based in Guandong Province, offers metal 3D printing and five-axis CNC machining to deliver complex, low-volume components that would previously have required the input of two separate bureaus.
Gordon Styles, president of Star, said: ‘Most metal 3D printed parts are not used as prototypes, but as complex low-volume manufactured components, and many of these parts need certain high-precision features that are virtually impossible to produce with 3D printing alone.
‘The problems arise because most 3D printing companies don’t carry out secondary machining, meaning the customer needs to take care of the work themselves or farm it out to a specialist machining bureau.’
The AddSub Manufacturing system allows parts to be transferred directly from its 3D printing machines onto its CNC machines without having to be removed from the build plate. This simplifies the post-processing with the CNC machine.
Star sees the Subtractive CNC element of AddSub as being ideal for mating faces, precision bores, tapped holes, spigots and other high-precision features. The technology is likely to be of particular use to the motor-sport, aerospace, military, medical and dental fields.