The use of additive manufacturing processes in industry has increased significantly in recent years – and the trend is still rising. The innovative process also opens up numerous new possibilities in the field of machining, such as greater design freedom for new solutions.
At CERATIZIT, we have been working with 3D printing for many years and would like to give you a small insight into the products and projects we have developed so far in the field of cutting tools.
When we hit the limits of traditional manufacturing processes, where appropriate we use 3D-printed tool solutions. We print special and standard tools developed in-house and tailored to the needs of our customer.
3D-printed hybrid tools such as our HPC PCD face milling cutter enable significantly higher cutting speeds and feed rates.
Why? The additive process enables a modified arrangement of the cutting edges, considerably larger axis angles and thus significantly more PCD cutting edges. These ensure maximum feed rates, even with lightweight components, as well as perfect surface quality and reduced burr formation.
Selective laser melting (SLM) is used as the printing process.
From development to perfect surface quality – in this video, you can see how our PCD tools are developed, printed, further processed and finally put to use:
And here you can see our PCD face milling cutter again as it machines a chess board (from sec. 46).
Particularly in the project business, we are constantly challenged with special requirements for tools. Additively manufactured special tools are often the right solution particularly in the areas of e-mobility and aerospace, where tool weight is a limiting factor.
Here are some examples of recent projects:
This impressive concept tool was developed for machining the stator hole in the electric motor housing.
Printed from tool steel and equipped with PCD cutting edges, the lightweight tool was specially developed for machines with small spindle diameters. Where conventionally manufactured tools would be far too heavy, a significantly lighter, additively manufactured tool makes it possible to produce not just the many small holes that the housing requires but also the large stator hole, in an economical, sustainable and process-secure manner, all on the same machine.
This special tool, which at first glance seems a little exotic, was developed and printed in collaboration with the Formula Student Racing Team GreenTeam from the University of Stuttgart and the 3D printer manufacturer Renishaw. It is an attachment tool for a mechatronic U-axis with which the 3D-printed wheel suspension boxes can be reworked in the next step. Tool steel was used for printing.
For this modular boring tool, the cartridges for the PCD cutting edges are produced on a 3D printer and can be screwed to the base body. This solution enables the tools to be reworked in a much simpler and faster manner without having any impact at all on the base body. The 3D-printed solution also allows the coolant supply for the cutting edge to be optimally positioned and the chips to be efficiently flushed from the hole.
This PCD water plug drill has been specially developed for core drilling of holes in cavities and chambers. The specification for the development: there must be no chips remaining in the component. This is achieved here through additively manufactured inserts in the chip flutes and a curved coolant hole guide.
With this 3D-printed tool, performance was significantly improved in comparison to conventional production. Positive cutting edge adjustment with the maximum number of cutting edges, and with direct coolant supply to the cutting edge, ensure excellent milling results with maximum tool life.
In addition to tools, whole components are also 3D printed.
In this project with the E-Racing cars from GreenTeam and the 3D printer manufacturer Renishaw, the wheel carriers were first printed and then reworked on the CNC machine.
The challenge here is achieving a particularly thin-walled component, tight tolerances on the inner and outer surfaces to be machined and a diameter of over 120 mm. This is not a problem for our special tool printed for this purpose.
Printers are also running at full speed in the carbide sector. Shapes with complex geometries are typically printed here. Learn more about carbide printing.
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