BENEFITS OF 3D PRINTING JIGS & FIXTURES —
By Aaron Latzke, Mechanical Engineer & Co-Founder of Siva Cycle
Fixtures for assembly, quality assurance (QA) and alignment are critical parts for the mass production of a product. Traditional methods for fabricating fixturing can slow the time to market with long lead times and iteration cycles while adding cost to project budgets.
3D printing and additive manufacturing offer faster, lower-cost options for establishing production lines. This equates to increased iterations within a given time and budget constraint, and a more efficient design process overall.
The Case Study:
Recently, Siva Cycle went through the process of designing and implementing a QA fixture for our production process. As huge fans of 3D printing and its capabilities, we naturally turned to our 3D printer to tackle the job (FDM-based Mojo by Stratasys).
Our first step, as in all design processes, was to ask, “What does it need to do?” This particular fixture would be testing the functionality of our electronics assembly, which required physical testing of the plugs and receptacles and electrical testing of the circuit components. The physicality of checking the plugs and receptacles meant the fixture had to be rigid and durable to handle repeated pushing and pulling on the work piece. The electrical testing required access to small test points on the PCB that meant precise positioning of the PCB and test probe.
The fixture also needed to last without breaking, given its production setting use. Our production run was for 10k parts and we were testing 100% of the parts off the line, so it needed to last at least 10k cycles; something to think about in any setting, but an item of particular interest given the FDM material.
Lastly, the fixture had to be quick to use by the operator to keep cycle times and testing costs low. The electronic assembly needed to be placed, tested, and removed quickly, which required the operator to understand the work environment so he or she could move naturally and efficiently… (continued—download the white paper for the full case study).
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