August 7, 2015 – A China-based, British-owned rapid manufacturer has launched AddSub Manufacturing – a process that combines metal 3D printing and five-axis CNC machining to quickly deliver complex, low-volume components that would previously have required the input of two separate bureaus.
STAR Prototype, which is based in Guandong Province, says it developed the service after it identified demand for a one-stop-shop for such components.
Gordon Styles, president of STAR, said, “Most metal 3D printed parts are not used as prototypes, but as complex low-volume manufactured components, and many of these parts need certain high-precision features that are virtually impossible to produce with 3D printing alone.”
“The problems arise because most 3D printing companies don’t carry out secondary machining, meaning the customer needs to take care of the work themselves or farm it out to a specialist machining bureau.”
STAR claims it has has removed this time-consuming and often error-strewn leg from the manufacturing process with the development of AddSub Manufacturing. The system allows parts to be transferred directly from its 3D printing machines onto its CNC machines without having to be removed from the build plate – a development that also resolves the troublesome issue of subcontractors getting to grips with 3D printed parts.
STAR sees the Subtractive CNC element of AddSub as being ideal for mating faces, precision bores, tapped holes, spigots and other high-precision features, and feels AddSub is likely to be of particular use to the aerospace, motorsport, military, medical and dental fields.