July 22, 2015 | By Alec

When most people think about additive manufacturing methods, they are likely far away from thinking at all about any sort of subtractive manufacturing methods (e.g. reaming, precision drilling, drilling, milling, turning).  Yet, as we continue to find new ways of utilizing 3D printing in a number of industries, one of those industries is the tooling industry where custom parts are made for manufacturing other parts.  

Mapal, a German-based precision tool specialist that was founded in 1950, has been manufacturing innovative precision tools for a variety of industries that call upon metal machining and are known for their high quality products around the world.  To date, the company has actively been developing precision tools for multiple industries including automotive, mechanical, tool and plant engineering.  

In an effort to stay ahead of the game with an innovative approach, the company has announced that they have turned to the geometric freedom that additive manufacturing provides for their QTD-Series Insert Drills.  

Known for excelling with good chip deformation and reliable chip removal thanks to its geometry, the QTD insert drill has high performance, a long service life and rapid tool change usability built directly within its DNA.  These precision features, which exist thanks to additive manufacturing techniques, make high cutting specifications and drill quality possible.  

The latest Mapal QTD insert drills - which are also being called a “World’s First” - are actually hybrid manufactured parts: the tool shank is machined conventionally and the drill is laser melted with additive methods using laser melting systems from Concept Laser.  Not only does this approach allow for more freedom during the design process, but it also makes the manufacturing process significantly more economical.

"Hybrid strategies are the ideal method of choice: Simple component parts are machined and more complex areas are then built up additively," explains Dr. Dirk Sellmer, Head of Research and Development at Mapal.

"The additively manufactured insert drill has a cooling concept with spiral ducts, which improves the cooling performance. Compared with the previous central coolant supply with y diversion, a spiral coolant routing increases the coolant flow by 100%."

According to the company, tests that were performed on the new drill inserts found that choosing a cross section of this type increases the flow quantity by 30%.  The coolant flows at a pressure of 1.6 to 3 bar, which cannot be produced conventionally.

“The ideal drill is very hard outside and somewhat flexible inside,” says  Dr. Sellmer.

“Laser melting makes it possible to generate selective thicknesses and then harden the surface with heat treatment and to create a cellular or honeycomb structure inside if necessary. “

So what does this mean to the end user?

Ultimately, the new cooling concept means that drills will be able to last significantly longer for each drilling task.  Additionally, it allows for the company to expand their range to include smaller drill diameters.  

To produce the insert drills, two Concept Laser M1 cusing systems with a central material supply container are used. The systems, which come from the medium performance range of the company’s product portfolio, have a total build envelope of 250 x 250 x 250 mm. During a single print session, 100 to 121 drills are produced at the rate of 6 and 18 cm³/h.

"In a broadest sense, we can say that the parts of the future are more intelligent or complex, and also offer better performance," adds Dr. Sellmer.

"They also give us new design options. And that will result in new geometries with new performance features. In general, additive manufacturing facilitates new product solutions, which would be inconceivable with conventional methods. Every project implemented is a learning experience. This knowledge is then used in new, future projects.”



Posted in 3D Printing Company



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