Cincinnati Incorporated, a metal fabrication equipment manufacturer best known in the additive industry for its BAAM and SAAM 3D printers, has demonstrated how 3D printing can not only complement but actually enhance more traditional metal fabrication techniques such as bending sheet metal. The innovation, which will be demonstrated at the upcoming FABTECH event this November, consists of a trio of 3D printed press brake process enhancements.
The 3D printed press brake components produced by Cincinnati Inc. include upper and lower airbend tooling, backgage fingers and an inspection gauge. Each of the three 3D printed pieces offers a particular benefit to manufacturers in bending metal.
For instance, the 3D printed American style upper and lower airbend tooling is reportedly well suited for specialized jobs, prototyping and even short production runs. The 3D printed part helps to reduce engineering and production times which typically cause delays for specialized projects. By doing away with the production time associated with traditional processes, manufacturers have the ability to get projects up and running more quickly.
The 3D printed backgage fingers, for their part, simplify the gaging process, as they are better equipped to accurately and securely gage complexly shaped parts. Lastly, the 3D printed inspection fixtures enable manufacturers to check all facets of a formed part at once, resulting in reduced inspection and measurement times. “This is especially ideal for longer parts that require multiple check points, or for cross sections with shallow bends,” Cincinnati Inc. adds.
The press brake enhancements were all 3D printed using PLA, and Cincinnati Inc. says the pieces can be used by prototype fabricators working with 12-gauge or thinner materials or fabricators making small-scale specialty parts.
Mark Watson, Senior Product Specialist of Vertical Motion Products at Cincinnati Inc., commented: “We have been working with additive and press brake tooling since 2014, improving the effectiveness of forming with 3D printed pieces. We have heard for years that you can’t find the hook that connects additive and fabrication, so we’re excited to visit Atlanta and, hopefully, start to change some minds.
“This is very much a design tool. Perhaps what we’re most excited about are all the new fabrication possibilities this can unlock for our customers. It will be a light bulb moment at the show.”
FABTECH, where Cincinnati Inc. will be presenting the 3D printed press brake enhancements, is hosted from November 6-8 in Atlanta, Georgia.