How to make positioning templates

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Did you know you could create a template for the correct positioning of your artifacts by exploiting the wide possibilities of 3d printing ?

You will get an effective and efficient tool in any production environment!

The template is a plastic or metal product that acts as a guide to a manual operation carried out in the workstation. Each product needs a special template, preferably modeled on the surface of the object to be machined. The design with 3D CAD software allows you to immediately have a prototype to be validated and with the same speed and precision to correct the geometry to obtain the best possible result.

Our direct experiences

Thanks to the fruitful collaboration with a customer specialized in professional ironing machinery, we produce rubber handles that house threaded brass inserts. The handle has a curved design and to guarantee the operator an ergonomic and effective working position we have designed and manufactured a stereolithography positioning template .

SLA stereolithography is a 3D printing technology that uses epoxy resin solidified by a laser. It is a “cold” process so we do not note deformation problems on the pieces and after a stabilization cycle in the UV oven they are ready to use.

The template has been designed to keep the handle of the iron in the optimal position for the insertion of all the necessary inserts, without the operator having to change the orientation. This ensures correct centering of the inserts with respect to the hole.

A further direct Coesum experience was the creation of a positioning template for a medical product . We needed to correctly position a medical ABS molded casing. We designed a positioning template so that the gluing surface was parallel to the work surface, then we printed it in several replicas with FDM technology.

The gluing takes place in a specially designed automatic machine and uses a nozzle of our design . To ensure the correct dosage of the glue and to reach the gluing area narrow between two walls, we have designed and printed the glue dispensing nozzle in stereolithography. From various tests, no commercial nozzle was able to reach the affected area.

Other customers have developed various kinds of templates on their own, for example positioning templates for applying adhesives on motorcycle fairings, or for drilling production plates or casings.

Additive manufacturing technologies

The choice of the additive technology with which to make the templates is based on some criteria such as:

  • precision
  • mechanical strength
  • temperature resistance
  • surrounding work environment

The greatest precision and definition of detail is obtained with stereolithography, a technology that produces a product with a very smooth and easily workable surface. On the other hand, this technology is not very efficient with respect to mechanical resistance and temperature. Therefore, if the working conditions require good performances in these indicators, it is better to move towards the technologies that use PA12 powder, that is SLS or MJF or towards the FDM technology. The latter uses a range of very technical materials but low aesthetic results. Finally, the work environment influences the choice of technology in cases where this template is delivered to the customer or is an integral part of the finished and sold product and then it must necessarily conform to it.

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