Engineers: TU Delft, AV Flexologic, Lumicks - Leapfrog Case Study
Posted on July 11 2017
Innovation does not stop and more and more companies will experience this. The procurement of a 3D printer is no longer an experimental venture for engineers. The 3D printer is slowly but firmly integrating in the business culture and seems to be a serious addition to the development of products.
Process And Type Of Printer
Designing or scanning >Slicing > 3D printing > Approve the result or go through the process again
Designing or scanning
Samir den Haan, a student at the TU Delft and employed within Project March, scans limbs with the purpose to create an exo-skeleton. Subsequently den Haan will adjust the scan in the Solidworks program in order for the designs to be a close match with the body of the person involved.
Machine manufacturer AV Flexologic and Lumick, a spin-off from the Vrijr Universiteit Amsterdam, use 3D CAD software to design completely new parts, or to adjust existing parts in the software.
After the virtual design has been created through scanning or designing in the 3D CAD software the files are loaded into the slicing software of Leapfrog, also called Creatr software. This will indicate the quality (smoothness) and strength (density) of the design but the material and the printing speed can also be adjusted.
Printing and Type of Printer
Depending on the purpose and the quality requirements and the sizes of the product each customer will select his own type of Leapfrog 3D printer.
Lumicks uses a Creatr HS to quickly print small parts. Team Project March uses a HS XL to print large prototypes up to 59 cm. AV Flexologic has a Xeed and an XceL to print extreme sturdy parts in all imaginable sizes from a few millimeters up to 2,3 meters long.
Loek Eg: “We from AV Flexologic produce machines with many moving parts, so there are many specific parts such as air links and distribution blocks. Some of these parts are not available on the market. When you are an engineer you should be equipped with the correct parts, often this means that you have to arrange for this specific part to be made. This process involves:
- High Costs
- A lot of time
- The necessary internal and external communication
- Extra high risk; if the parts are not correct the whole procedure has to be done again
With the procurement of a Leapfrog Xeed 3D printer all these previous points are solved. A big advantage of the Leapfrog Xeed is that the part can be completely printed at the precise size. It is also a lot cheaper than casting as we do not deal with mass production. The costs to produce a mould are no longer applicable and this will easily save us thousands of euros. Plus, we can easily adjust the part on our own PC and reprint it again in no time.
Martijn Otten, General manager from AV FLexologic. Leapfrog 3D printer: XceL Beta
The parts that we print in 3D for our machines vary, think of hooks, cylinders and bow heads. We print with ABS as this material is strong enough to fulfil a dynamic function. We use the Leapfrog Xeed 3D printers as normal desktop printers already struggle to print a single small model in ABS without it warping (bending of the plastic).
The Leapfrog Xeed 3D printer prevents this problem. Due to the advanced heating technology of the printer we can ensure that correct print quality and it is ideally suitable for prototyping or even for the production of end products.
As we are completely satisfied with the Xeed we co-developed the XceL printer some time ago, together with our sister company Tech Sleeves. This printer is based on the Xeed but has much larger sizes and it can print up to almost two and a half meters high and sixty centimeters wide and deep. We use the XceL’s to replace a manufacturing step of our sleeves and bridges for the flexographic printing industry.Each order is customer specific, making 3D printing the perfect fit. We save up to 60% in man-hours and 50% in waste material. An interesting business model that you could not imagine a few years ago”.
To read the full case study and see how TU Delft and Lumicks use Leapfrog 3D printers to expand their business and way they think of innovation, follow the link above.