Tired of fixing the hinge on a pair of spectacles with a screw? Fret no more.
A hinge design consists of two leaves bound by a central pin. As the hinge becomes smaller, assembly requires special tools and equipment for precision manufacturing. In the past, assembling mini hinges in high volume took a long lead time and intensive labor was required.
Now, with the Production System 3D printer, a new 3D printer for mass production by Desktop Metal, more than 45,000 pre-assembled, 12 x 5 x 6 mm eyewear hinges can be printed in a single 4-hour build at build speeds of up to 12,000 cm3³ /hr. It enables print-in-place hinges manufactured with the pin printed directly into the knuckle of the mating leaf, thus eliminating the need for post-assembly and reducing the risk of disassembly after repeated use.
The powder used to print the hinge has a particle-size distribution of 3 to 20 microns. To ensure high-quality, finely detailed 3D-printed parts, the hinges are printed using a 20-µm resolution. As a result, the voxels are left untouched and the excess powder can be shaken out of the hinge.
An interesting aspect of the build is that the pin the hinge’s two leaves revolve around was printed in situ.
The Production System 3D printer is scheduled for its first installation at a Fortune 500 company at the start of 2019, with further customer installations to follow at major automotive, heavy duty, and leading metal parts manufacturers. The Production System will be widely available to the market in 2020.