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  • Writer's pictureremysamson

Add 3D features on exisiting parts using Element X - Cladding

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Have you ever wished you could add 3D features to a part that was already manufactured, without having to start from scratch? Or perhaps you needed to repair a part that was damaged or worn out, but couldn't find a suitable replacement? If so, you'll be excited to hear about a new process that we’ve developed at Elementiam using an additive manufacturing system and a 3D scanner.

This process enables you to add 3D features to a part that has already been manufactured, using a 3D-printer-like system to build up the features layer by layer. The process starts by scanning the part using a 3D scanner, which creates a digital model of the part. This model is then imported into Element X software program, which is used to convert the 3D features that will be added to the part into a machine path.

The additive system is then used to print the features directly onto the part, using a compatible material. This process is precise and can add intricate details that would be difficult to achieve using traditional manufacturing methods.

In this blog post, I'll be sharing more details about this new process, including how it works, the benefits it offers, and some real-world applications. So, let's get started!

In the experiments, an acrylic pipe was chosen as the part on which the 3D features were printed. To create a digital model of the pipe, a 3D scanner was used. To ensure the accuracy of the scanning data, the reference coordinate system of the scanner was overlapped with the reference coordinate system of the 3D printer. This was achieved using a 3D printed fiducial marker, which served as a reference point for both the scanner and the printer. By aligning the reference coordinate systems in this way, the scanned data could be accurately imported into the software program used to design the 3D features.

To add 3D features to the acrylic pipe, an helicoidal shape was designed using Element X. Once the design was complete, the software was used to directly slice the shape into layers.

Next, a G-code file was generated based on the sliced data. This file contained the instructions that would be used by the 3D printer to create the 3D features on the pipe. The G-code file was then imported onto the 3D printer, which used the instructions to build up the shape layer by layer, using a compatible material.

The experiments described in this blog post were carried out using an Ender 5 Pro 3D printer and a Photoneo structured light 3D scanner. One of the key advantages of this process is its efficiency: the entire process, from scanning to G-code creation, can be executed in less than 5 minutes. This makes it a valuable tool for a wide range of applications, particularly those that require rapid prototyping, customization, or repair.

By combining the precision of a 3D scanner with the versatility of a 3D printer, this process offers a new and innovative way to add 3D features onto existing parts. The results can be achieved quickly and easily, even for complex geometries. Whether you're a hobbyist, a researcher, or a professional in the manufacturing industry, this process has the potential to revolutionize the way you work.

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