[Case Study] Custom race-car parts with Creator 4

2023-01-03
Flashforge Industrial Case

Introduction

Automotive components require high strength, and high temperature resistance. PEEK is a material that is sometimes used, but it is not financially feasible for many users. High strength and heat resistance can be achieved using carbon fiber reinforced materials, such as PA12-CF. The Flashforge Creator 4 comes equipped with dual high temperature hot-ends capable of reaching 320 degrees Celsius, with hardened steel nozzles. These hardened steel nozzles are wear resistant, and can withstand printing with abrasive reinforced materials. As a result, using the Creator 4 has empowered 3BA printing to offer clients, such as Mark Uhlmann a cost-effective 3D printing solution that results not only in great visual quality, but excellent industrial performance as well.

 

Figure 1. Creator 4 loading in Nylon PA12-CF 

 

Traditional Manufacturing Methods and Lead Times

Figure 2. A threaded PA12-CF piece made on the Creator 4. Despite the threads, the quality is exceptional.

 

Traditional manufacturing methods such as CNC are costly and reduce the customizability of components.  Some of the components made for Mark were roughly ½ as costly in PA12-CF as they would have been in CNC. However, the most important factor for customers like Mark in choosing 3D printing over CNC, injection molding, and other traditional manufacturing methods is lead times. With 3D printing, custom parts can be ready in a day, and modifications can be made quickly. Mark, for example, printed all his parts in prototyping PLA on the Creator 4, with the heated chamber allowing for similar tolerances as final-use components. With injection molding, it is not feasible to make modifications to your design, as molds are very expensive, due to material and tooling costs. 

 


Use of Creator 4

Figure 3. The wear resistant IDEX system on the Creator 4

 

The Creator 4 is a very stable, and fast device. With an ultra-stable IDEX frame, the Creator 4 allows 3BA to create rapid PLA prototypes. Furthermore, the excellent cooling makes supports easy to remove, though water-soluble supports are made possible by the IDEX system. Water soluble supports allow for complex structures to be made in materials that often have difficult to remove supports, such as PA12-CF. IDEX also allows 3BA to print parts in duplicate mode, which enabled them to reduce lead times for small batches of items by 200%. 

 

Figure 4 The thick Z-rods on the guider 3 plus allow for stability during printing.