We’re excited to share a unique project we recently worked on for VIP PDR Tools, a family run and operated business specializing in knockdown tips and accessories for skilled technicians in the automotive repair industry.
This is one of the many projects where additive manufacturing proved to be a much more suitable solution than traditional manufacturing.
Learn how Re3DTech pulled through after CNC shops turned our customer away.
The Project Brief: VIP Star Series Pushing Tip Set for Removing Car Dents
When a car comes to a repair shop with cosmetic body damage or hail dents, the technicians usually attempt to pull the dents from the outside using a variety of techniques. But this tricky and laborious process doesn’t always yield the desired result—and if there are multiple dents, it’s extremely time-consuming.
Piotr Zamora, founder of VIP PDR Tools, invented a brilliant new method for removing car dents, building on his theory that it’s better to push the dents out from the inside. His innovative method consists of drilling a small hole in the side of the door, then using a modular tool with a specialized tip to push the dents out.
As you can imagine, having the right tip is key to successfully removing the dents. The tips vary in size and shape depending on the type of damage, and getting them right requires significant skill and precision.
Piotr approached Re3DTech looking to make a set of interchangeable tips. CNC shops had turned him away, noting the parts’ low quantity and high surface complexity. But our team knew right away that Piotr’s project would be perfect for additive manufacturing, a technology that consistently delivers where traditional machining falls short.
How Re3DTech 3D Printed the Perfect Parts for VIP PDR Tools
Two Different Forms of 3D Metal PrintingWhen we receive a new project, we take our time learning the application to determine how we can make the perfect part for the lowest possible cost. For this project, we chose to use two different forms of metal 3D printing:
- Markforged ADAM Technology. We printed the smaller of the two tips using Markforged ADAM technology, an ideal fit for the part’s geometry, size, and print time.
- DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). Due to the size and quantity of the larger tip, we used the more traditional DMLS laser-based metal printing method for these parts.
DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) Considerations
The knurled surface was critical for this application, so we worked hard to get it perfect. As you can see in the image, there’s a progression of spikes, angles, and profile changes.
At first glance these changes may appear arbitrary, but we designed them specifically to eliminate the need for additional support structures. As long as each layer above is less than 45 degrees than the layer below it, there’s no need for costly and complex supports.
While many other 3D printing service bureaus wouldn’t have bothered to alter the design for this reason, we took the opportunity to make cost-saving improvements for our customer.
When we first received the designs for these parts, there was a flat top in place of what’s now the internal cone section. Printing threads on a flat top would have required expensive and time consuming supports, which we wanted to avoid. Replacing the flat top with a cone eliminated the need for a support structure, saving us about 2 hours of print time per part.
While often overlooked in 3D printing, including threads directly into your design streamlines workflows and mitigates potential issues that can occur when threading hard metals like D2 Tool Steel.
Our customers ask us about 3D printed metal threads all the time and many experts would tell you it isn’t possible but through continual innovation, we offer this whenever possible to our customers.
One of the biggest advantages of additive manufacturing is the ability to add complexity without increasing cost.
In this case, customization is a small aesthetic touch that adds significant value to a part. What would have required a fully separate operation in CNC machining added no extra print time for us. When you choose additive manufacturing, you might as well use it to its fullest potential!
We were thrilled to provide VIP PDR Tools with the precise parts they needed for their knockdown tip set. It was such a unique project brought forth by a truly innovative idea.
If you need a complex, low-quantity part, Re3DTech’s 3D printing services may be a better alternative than traditional machining. Request a quote today and we’ll respond within 24 hours!
At Re3DTech, we believe that 3D printing will repatriate and revitalize our manufacturing industry – and is the future of American manufacturing! Re3DTech provides 3D printing and contract manufacturing services with a commitment to quality, speed, and customer service. We supply thousands of parts to customers every week in industries including Healthcare, Automotive, and Aerospace. It is our mission to provide a custom solution to our customers’ needs.
Leveraging our production additive manufacturing technologies, we have the in-house expertise and capabilities to help lead your company down the path of additive. Take advantage of the advances in 3D printing to improve your manufacturing - contact us today to see how we can help!