If you’ve worked with welding in the past, you know that it is one of the most expensive manufacturing processes. With skill and training required for high-quality welds, projects become increasingly costly when they are required to meet an industry specification. 3D printing weldment fixtures is an effective way to reduce costs, while maintaining high-performance welds.
Why Weldment Fixtures?
Weldment fixtures reduce the effect of distortion by controlling how the thermal energy from welding will affect the final assembly. As an added benefit, a fixture often provides more ergonomic and time-efficient part orientations for performing welding operations.
Fixtures are particularly useful for assemblies where small deformations will carry through to either deform or add internal stresses within the final assembly. For example, a welder would want to restrain corners and midpoints when welding a large ramp to prevent the part from curling. Without a fixture, the large heat difference across the part would cause deformation.
Welding operations are often balance the heat symmetrically across the part, limiting the amount of potential distortion. This is normally done by tack welding components together before running entire seams. As the total number of welded components increases, the difficulty, time to perform, and cost of the weld also increases.
When weldment fixtures are configured ahead of time, the welder can focus solely on the welding operation, expediting the entire process.
Streamline Processes With 3D Printed Fixtures
Traditionally, prior to working on a part, welders set up a generic fixture or fabricate a custom tooling feature. 3D printing this weldment fixture cuts out the time a welder would be fabricating tooling, allowing for efficient part production.
3D printed weldment fixtures are dimensionally stable, even under high temperatures, providing parts with better support than traditional methods.
As an added benefit, the printed part can be geometrically complex, allowing it to guide part alignment. A welder can save time positioning and prepping a weld with a 3D printed fixture. Purple Porcupine’s typical lead time is 3-5 business days, meaning your custom part can be designed, printed, and put to use in under a week. To start your project, contact us today.
Understanding Your Material Options
What 3D printed material is used for a weldment fixture depends on a variety of factors: How large is the part? How geometrically complex is the part? Is there concern of thermal stress? Is there concern for mechanical stress?
If there are welding locations near the restrained part regions, then a high temperature material like ULTEM 1010 is likely well suited. ULTEM 1010 offers the highest heat resistance of any FDM thermoplastic and the durable nature of the material can increase the lifetime of a fixture.
Our team at Purple Porcupine will make sure you’re using the right 3D material for your project. To learn more about your material options, contact us today.
Reduce Costs With 3D Printing
A welder creating the weldment fixture increases the cost of part production. By shifting the technology used to create the fixture, you can reduce cost of the labor and skill premium.
3D printing is a cost-efficient manner for producing a fixture according to a specific design requirement. Shifting away from traditional manufacturing has both short- and long-term benefits. For the short-term, a reduced labor time for a welder will lead to a higher profit margin. For a long-term, you can develop more competitive high-volume quoting packages, while maintaining the same profit margin.
By 3D printing weldment fixtures, you can “low-ball” your competitors’ pricing, while maintaining the long-term profitability of a certain product. To learn more about how additive can assist in other aspects of manufacturing tooling, contact us today.
To learn more about your 3D printing options, reach out to our team by phone at 949.474.9222 or by email at [email protected]. If you’d like to receive a quote for your project, please use our online file upload system.
As a Sales Engineer for Purple Porcupine, Alex focuses on bringing value to customers through his knowledge of additive manufacturing, engineering, and 3D printing technology. Out of the office, Alex enjoys reading investment articles and analyzing stock trends. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Alex yet, stop by our office and say hi or connect with him on LinkedIn!