Is Regular Machining's Days Numbered for Prototyping?

To All:
    Some tidbits about DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). Stereolithograpy for plastic parts has been around for decades, but
it's only in recent years that metals such as Cobalt Chromium (CoCr) and Stainless 17-4 PH have been able to be successfully used. I would assume other metal alloys won't be far behind.
=============================================================http://www.morristech.com/services/rapid/dmls.asw
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is a revolutionary technology that is beginning to gain recognition in North America. Well known outside of the US, this technology has enabled many companies to dramatically reduce their time to market for rapid tooling and direct metal applications.
The Technology
DMLS is an additive technology that works by sintering very fine layers of metal powders layer-by-layer from the bottom up until the build is complete. The process begins by sintering a first layer of 20 micron powder onto a steel platform. The platform then lowers by 20 microns, a fresh layer of powder is swept over the previously sintered layer, and the next layer is sintered on top of the previously built one. A powerful 200W Yb-fibre laser is precisely controlled in the X and Y coordinates allowing for exceptional tolerances to be held (+/-0.001/inch). The latest technology takes advantage of a dual spot laser allowing feature sizes as small as 0.203mm to be built. With a machine build envelope of 250 x 250 x 215mm, many medium to small parts and inserts are able to be constructed in hours and days versus days and weeks using traditional processes. Once started, the machine builds unattended, 24 hours a day. Parts and inserts that come out of the machine typically will go through a series of post steps including support removal, shot peening, etc.
EOS e-Manufacturing Partner
Morris Technologies (MTI) is pleased to announce our being selected as EOS e-Manufacturing Partner in North America. MTI is one of four e-MP companies worldwide, with a specific emphasis on the DMLS technology. This strategic partnership with EOS will help advance Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology and materials, and is an indication of MTI's global leadership position within this high-tech industry. The e-Manufacturing Partnership objectives consist of:
The North American Leader
MTI was the first company in North America to acquire this technology in 2003. Since then, MTI has purchased additional machines and is currently North Americas leading supplier of DMLS parts and inserts. With (5) alloys currently available, including the Super Alloy Cobalt Chromium (CoCr) and Stainless 17-4 PH, MTI remains at the leading edge of this advanced technology. Applications are wide-ranging and include inserts for plastic injection molding and die casting as well as direct parts for a variety of applications and industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Electronics and many others. MTI has seen the technology used primarily for smaller, complex parts that would be time-consuming and expensive to make using other, more traditional methodologies. With the emergence of some of the latest materials such as CoCr and 17-4 PH Stainless, coupled with the design freedoms this technology offers, many applications are being discovered that are dramatically reducing the time and cost to create parts, and in some cases, the ability to make parts that previously could not be made any other way.
New Developments
New alloys are constantly in development, including Titanium and Inconel 718 that will be commercially available sometime in 2006. MTI has worked diligently since 2003 to position itself as the industry leader for creating parts and inserts using the DMLS process. The ability to quickly create complex geometries, with exceptional detail resolution, tight tolerances and in a variety of alloys is changing the very structure of how many items are being made, and will be made.
Capabilities
Rapid Injection Mold Tooling (2-3 weeks) Rapid Metal Parts (2-3 days) Extremely Fine Detail Resolution with 20 Micron Layers (0.0008) and dual spot laser to achieve feature details down to 0.203mm (0.008) Highly Accurate (+/-0.001/inch) Multiple alloys including super alloys such as CoCr and Stainless 17-4 PH Fully dense parts using CoCr and 17-4 Stainless =============================================================     Here are a few DMLS sculptures that would be difficult to machine conventionally:
    http://www.bathsheba.com/sculpt /
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    Sorry for the grammatical boo-boo in the title. I changed the wording about 4 times and didn't notice the final choice wasn't correct. It should read "Are Regular Machining's Days Numbered for Prototyping?" And even that one doesn't seem quite right - oh well.
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I've worked with some parts made this way, and what I was exposed to was very brittle. It was a thin plate shape we were asked to make some holes in, and the stuff was almost crunchy. One corner was broken trying to make a hole near it. We asked how much it cost to have the parts made, and just shook our heads. Our price would have been about the same, and the grain structure of our parts made from solid pieces of metal would have been much more suitable for real- world use.
Later,
Charlie
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Charlie Gary wrote:

Charlie, That's pretty much my experience with plastic parts that have been made with stereolithograpy and plastic parts. They were expensive and weren't strong enough to use in testing. I've heard that they've made advances in plastic stereolithograpy with better polymers that hold up better. I would think similar advances will be made with metals.
I don't think that prototype machining will go away anytime soon just as many of us still machine plenty of plastic prototypes.
Best, Steve
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BottleBob wrote:

I'm sending my eight grade English teacher to give you a rap on knuckles.
Best, Steve
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Garlicdude wrote:

GD:
    I think the nuns whacked me one too many times on the back of the head with a ruler.
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I think the only real good application for this technology is to make parts that cannot be made by any other method. For example, a spherical shape with chambers and ribs inside. Other than that, I see a falling off of this type of prototyping simply because the machine control and software is becomming much faster, easier to use, and accurate. We have had many parts come thru our door that we produce from start to finish in hours. ( including the reverse-engineering and drawings) If you have the right combination of software and machines, you can work wonders.
I am not worried about Stereolithography as machining competition. I think the big change will come in nanno-technology when we start sticking atoms together to build stuff. -- A bit far off yet. - beam me up.
Jim

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On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 06:06:08 -0700, BottleBob

==================A bit of a follow up on this posting. ============Sat Aug 16, 12:08 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - In a step toward the type of future pictured in the hit film "Iron Man," a firm in the Netherlands is letting people fabricate items designed in three-dimensions on the Internet.
<snip>
With the Shapeways service, instead of digital content people design items that are manufactured and shipped to their doors.
Software lets online designers flip, turn and tinker with virtual designs onscreen in a variation on how film character Tony Stark manipulated computer imagery while inventing his Iron Man suit.
Creations have included clocks and tools. A man making an anime film made a model of his lead character and a model train hobbyist in the Netherlands re-created his home town in miniature using the service.
<snip>
Shapeways this week added the first of what it hopes to build into a library of easy-to-use templates. One template lets people make candle holders embodying poetry and another is for making fruit bowls.
Each item is priced at 150 dollars (US).
"People will help us come up with cool ideas for templates and we will build them," Weijmarshausen said.
Shapeways is part of electronics giant Philips' "lifestyle incubator" that nurtures start-ups. Shapeways has a production site in the Netherlands and plans to be independent by year's end. ===========for the complete article click on http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080816/tc_afp/usnetherlandsitinternetmanufacturingshapeways ;_ylt=AgXXF5QEPBnfFs_CeG34PsIjtBAF
shapeways sites http://www.shapeways.com / http://www.shapeways.com/about / http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/46-Our-machines-part-II-Objet-Eden-500.html
machines http://lp.2objet.com/?md=gl&cm=Objet&ag en_500&at=1&gclid=COCqhof6k5UCFQMLswodd176gg
Anyone have an idea how this stuff would hold up as a pattern for low volume oil sand casting?
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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