High strength cutting tools can now be 3D printed, potentially saving time and money for aerospace and Defence manufacturers.
RMIT University PhD candidate Jimmy Toton received the 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award and $15,000 prize at the Avalon International Airshow for the research, which was conducted with Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) and industry partner Sutton Tools.
Because the metals used in Defence and aerospace are so strong, making high quality tools to cut them is a major, and expensive, challenge.
“We’ve done extensive testing with additive over the last couple of years to make sure we have the right technology to fit our markets and their applications.”
Tooling, jigs and fixtures have earned a reputation as the somewhat unexciting part of the additive manufacturing (AM) application spectrum. When you’re up against a world of generatively designed automotive parts and jet engines, it’s hard to shine when you’re tucked away on a production line. However, “the mundane”, as Todd Grimm called it in a notable keynote at TCT Show 2014, is rightfully having its moment in the spotlight as major manufacturers from Ford to Volkswagen are adopting these unsung technologies as aids on the factory floor.
According to a recent report based on AM technology providers, around 7% of customer applications were said to be tooling components, similar to the percentage of customers seeking more common applications such as visual aids and models. Responding to this growing demand, Wilson Tool International, the largest independent manufacturer of tooling systems for punch presses, press brakes, and punch and die components for the stamping and tableting industries, has decided to not only adopt additive but launch an entirely new AM-focused product division.