There are many use cases for 3D printing that make it a versatile tool to have in a test lab. We commonly print fixtures, load forms, and part simulations. These parts often need to be strong with high dimensional accuracy. Many companies will have these items machined but at MGA we have the capability to meet these requirements through 3D printing. Having parts machined for these uses are often expensive and have longer lead times. 3D printing is a quick, cost-effective solution to this. Printing can be ideal for creating prototype and mock-up components as well. Prototype parts are often revised several times before a final design is selected which makes 3D printing an optimal solution for creating these parts during the design process.
At MGA, we are always exploring new opportunities to run tests more efficiently and reliably. Many tests require custom fixturing, load forms, or part simulations. We have found 3D printing to be an extremely useful tool for these items.
Just like machining, there are many different material types to choose from when 3D printing. We commonly use nylon composites and PLA. We use nylon composite materials for all our products that require high precision, heat tolerance, and strength. Nylon composite materials have carbon fiber, fiberglass, or Kevlar fibers in them which makes these materials very strong and rigid. The nylon base of the material enables these parts to be exposed to extreme temperatures without any warpage. Our nylon parts are rated for up to 100 degrees Celsius in environmental chambers. PLA is our go to material for prototyping and large-scale parts, as it is significantly cheaper to print than nylon composites. Making it perfect for parts where the design is not finalized or when cost is significant. PLA does not hold up well at temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and is not as strong as nylon composites. Between these different materials we can guide the customer on which material to choose to meet their requirements.
Having an in-house 3D printing lab has proven to be a useful resource for us and our customers. There is no middleman between our customers tests and the fabrication required to run them. This allows us to run tests quicker and more efficiently than others. We often see customers struggling to obtain prototype parts due to current material shortages. 3D printing these parts is a cost-effective and time-efficient solution. With 3D printing services offered at 6 of our North American facilities, we can cater to our customers’ needs and schedules.