3D Printed Jigs and Fixtures

70% to 90% cheaper

Than manufacturing Jigs and Fixtures using traditional manufacturing techniques.

Lead times reduced by 40% to 80%

When compared to using traditional manufacturing methods.

Soft touch/non-scratch features can be easily incorporated

Utilising the multi-material Stratasys Connex, soft touch materials can be used to protect the part.

Although the main use of 3D printing is the manufacture of prototypes in a wide variety of materials, there is another very important application – the manufacture of jigs and fixtures.

Manufacturing Requirements

Manufacturing processes generally involve more than one operation or require parts to be checked in some way. In order to do this jigs and fixtures are required either for assembly or to aid efficiency and control quality. Often the need for some form of jig or other fixture only becomes apparent as production is about to start in earnest so time is of the essence in their manufacture.

3D Printing vs Traditional Manufacture

Traditionally jigs and fixtures have been fabricated or machined from metal, wood or plastic. This method is time consuming often taking days or weeks and can be expensive. The design and manufacture may also be limited by the machine and fabrication processes used.

An alternative approach is to manufacture jigs and fixtures using a 3D printer. Not only can they be produced in a matter of hours but they are also considerably cheaper. If modifications are required this can prove costly and take time, especially if a new jig is required. Using 3D printing a new fixture can be produced with very little time lost.

Applications

As part of its injection moulding service Rutland Plastics offers a wide range of assembly operations.  This requires the design and manufacture of a large number of jigs and fixtures for internal use.  This experience has now been applied to manufacturing using the Stratasys Connex 3D printer.

Jigs produced range from the relatively simple holding jigs used for the insertion of threaded inserts into an electronics enclosure, through jigs with added features like toggle clamps as shown, to much larger suites of jigs for complex assemblies.  A number of QC gauges and checking fixtures have also been successfully printed.

Rutland Plastics’ experience in the design and manufacture of jigs and fixtures has now been extended to providing this service to other companies in just the same way as its rapid prototyping service.  Not only will we print the jigs for you but we can also help you with their design and development.

3D Printed Clasp Jig