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The next step: the 3D model goes into 3D printing

23 August 2018

igus has extended the functionality of the gear configurator for the 3D printing service.

Double gears are an essential part of the everyday life of designers. When force, torque or speed in gears need to be changed, this task can only be performed if the geometry of the teeth is optimised. To enable manufacture of high performance geometrically complex gears such as these, time and money has to be invested. Even slight inaccuracies increase the wear and the noise.

To remedy this problem, igus has extended the functionality of the gear configurator for 3D printing.

Double gears can now be designed automatically online in a few seconds and then ordered directly. By uploading the CAD data, the order can then be processed with the igus SLS 3D printing service. A lubrication-free, high-performance plastic specifically developed for gears ensures a long service life of the configured special part during operation.

“The online configurator allows the design of a simple gear or a double gear” explains Robert Dumayne igus Director. “The designer only needs to select the appropriate gear module and set the number of teeth and the drive method – such as ‘D’ hole, a square drive hole or with keyway. The configurator automatically uses this data to create the 3D model of the double gear with involute gear teeth, guaranteeing a quiet and long-lasting operation. Without complex and error-prone manual work or an external CAD program”. 

Just as time-saving as the online configuration is the 3D printing of the special part. Within three to five days, the customer will receive their gear from igus, thanks to the in-house laser sintering production. The machining of special gears often manufactures up to 3,000 gears per day by fusing the iglidur I6 SLS powder material specifically developed for gears with a laser. The machining of special gears often takes several weeks. The production of small gears is also more cost-effective in 3D printing. For example, gears with a size of 12mm x 16mm are 40 percent lower cost than a machined pendant. Because, the gears from the 3D printer are robust and wear-resistant – thanks to the lubrication-free and maintenance-free material iglidur I6 specifically developed for gears. A test in the igus laboratory has proven that a gear made of iglidur I6 has no measurable wear after a million cycles at 5N/m torque and 12rpm. Unlike a milled gear made of the thermoplastic polyoxymethylene (POM). It is already severely worn-out after 321,000 cycles, so it has a roughly three times shorter service life than igus materials.

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