CREAT3D Case Study
FUSING END-USE PARTS WITH ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
“Using the Formlabs Fuse 1 technologies means that we can manufacture high quality products that encompass design, finish and strength.”
Tim Cieslik, Founder and Director, Defender3D
> ABOUT DEFENDER3D
Defender3D is an aftermarket automotive supplier, specialising in the design and manufacture of bespoke spare parts and accessories for the Landrover Defender L663 vehicle.
Based in the UK, Defender3D provides British engineered products with the flexibility of 3D printing at its core. Products range from wireless charging trays, storage solutions, interior lighting brackets, fixtures and casings to mounting components and brackets, that are all specific to the vehicle.
With a global client base including UK, Germany, Japan, Australia and USA, Defender3D supplies off-road specialist companies, automotive aftermarket suppliers and enthusiast groups.
> WHY USE ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING?
Tim Cieslik, Founder and Director of Defender3D, has previous experience of Additive Manufacturing, in particular using a range of extrusion (FFF) based 3D printers to prototype designs and produce light-use parts.
The problem encountered with using PLA and ABS materials for end-use products was warping and discoloration, which limited longevity and functionality.
With an increase in demand and a need to produce strong, resilient parts that were less susceptible to snapping, Defender3D expanded its 3D printing capabilities by investing in the Formlabs Fuse 1 and Sift SLS system (Selective Laser Sintering).
> NO DESIGN RESTRICTIONS
The products are bespoke in fit, functionality and design to the Defender L663.
With limited availability of aftermarket products, as well as restrictions on choice and functionality, incorporating the Fuse 1 3D printer has removed all design boundaries, which has resulted in the production of better quality products.
Tim explains “It’s tricky to highlight just one reason why we have invested in the Fuse! Key is the superior product quality. Also, not needing to print supports is a game-changer for us because we are no longer held back with design”
FROM PROTOTYPING TO PRODUCTION
Using PA12 (Nylon), the affordable SLS system has enabled the production of low cost, high quality parts that are manufactured in small batch runs.
Mount for holding mobile phone
High levels of assembly required for finished product
Product uses multiple pieces of hardware
Part can be prone to snapping
DESIGN CHANGES MADE POSSIBLE WITH SLS TECHNOLOGY
Part re-designed into just two components
Hardware replaced with 3D printed elements
e.g. functional thumbscrew to manually adjust mount
OUTCOME OF USING 3D PRINTING ON
THE FUSE 1
No metal or hardware required
Single assembly, with single point of adjustment
Instructions can be 3D printed within the product (no need to send paper instructions with product)
SLS redesigned part
Defender3D will continue to embrace and maximise the output of Additive Manufacturing.
Whilst maintaining development and production of new products for Defender3D, the company will be adding further Fuse 1 3D printers into their suite of machines. This enables the company to excel in their expansion plans into other aftermarkets, including the cycling industry through 3D printing bespoke accessories, fittings and tools for service.