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Graco FDM Use Case - Metal Forming Die
Case Study

Graco Engineers 3D Printed Metal Forming Dies Using FDM Technology

March 15, 2023

Customer FDM Use Case: Graco

Graco Inc., a manufacturer of fluid-handling systems and products, faced extensive lead times when it came to the fabrication of prototype sheet metal brackets for a gasoline-powered motor. This is because –at the time -- Graco relied on the use of standard sheet metal forming dies. However that changed when Graco implemented the use of Stratasys FDM technology.

In place of using traditional or standard metal tools. Graco engineered 3D printed forming dies on an F370®CR composite 3D printer using FDM® Nylon-CF10, a carbon-filled thermoplastic material.

3D printed metal forming dies allowed Graco to manufacture all required prototype brackets on time and significantly reduced tooling cost and procurement lead time.

Continue reading this case study to find out how Graco achieved 80% cost reduction and 90% time savings with Stratasys solutions vs traditional machining.

You may also download the PDF by clicking below. 

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The metal forming die set 3D printed with Nylon-CF10 material.

Customer Profile: Graco

Graco Inc. supplies technology and expertise for the management of fluids and coatings in both industrial and commercial applications. It designs, manufactures and markets systems and equipment to move, measure, control, dispense and spray fluid and powder materials.

Machining Challenge That Graco Faced

The fabrication of prototype sheet metal brackets for a gasoline-powered motor required the use of standard sheet metal forming dies. However, the dies would need to be machined internally or outsourced, and both solutions would incur excessive lead times (approximately four weeks), jeopardizing the ability to meet the production timeline.

Graco Manufacturing

Solution Delivered:

F370CR & FDM Nylon-CF10

In place of using standard metal tools, Graco engineers 3D printed forming dies on an F370®CR composite printer using FDM® Nylon-CF10, a carbon-filled thermoplastic material.

The die set was printed solid and used to form the brackets out of 14-gauge (0.075 in. thick) carbon steel using 0.8 tons of pressure. The chopped carbon fibres in Nylon-CF10 add stiffness and rigidity to the base nylon polymer, giving it sufficient toughness for metal-forming operations.

The inherent smoothness of the as-printed material also reduces friction on the sliding surfaces between the 3D printed tool and the formed sheet metal.

 

Impact of Partnering with Stratasys 3D Printing Solutions

3D printed metal forming dies allowed Graco to manufacture all required prototype brackets on time and significantly reduced tooling cost and procurement lead time. The total cost to 3D print the tools was $400, a $1600 savings from the $2000 cost to outsource. The lead time was reduced from approximately one month to three days, a 90% time savings vs. outsourced tooling. Additionally, one set of 3D printed tools withstood 40 cycles of forming operation with no tool degradation or deformation.

Discover the possibilities of additive manufacturing technologies for industry 4.0 objectives.

The factory floor visualiser

If you want to learn more about the variety of applications you can address with a Stratasys 3D Printer, check out our virtual factory floor for an interactive look into the world of 3D printing for manufacturing.