Designing for Additive Manufacturing in the Heavy Equipment Industry

Article by Stratasys Ltd. updated October 8, 2021


In this article learn how 3D printing / additive manufacturing with a Stratasys F770 in the heavy equipment industry addresses common manufacturing challenges and reduces costs compared to traditional manufacturing and CNC machining.

While processes like machining, molding and casting have proven to be reliable ways of making things, they also come with inherent drawbacks. Making prototypes, tools and production parts with these methods is usually associated with significant burdened cost and lengthy lead times.

The need for skilled labor and reliance on long, conventional supply chains make them vulnerable to labor shortages and unanticipated disruptions that also drive cost and add delays. Traditional manufacturing systems also preclude the ability for customization and low-volume production because tooling costs often negate a satisfactory return on investment.

In contrast, additive manufacturing (AM) using FDM® technology offers a faster and less costly alternative to these traditional manufacturing practices. Prototyping with FDM allows manufacturers to iterate more often to arrive at a better design. 3D printed tooling can be created and deployed faster and for less cost than heavier metal tools. Out-of-production and customized parts can be produced cost-effectively due to the tool-less nature of additive manufacturing.

An Additive Manufacturing Solution for Large Parts

Despite these benefits, 3D printing large parts – approximately 600 mm (24 in.) and up in a particular X / Y / Z direction – is challenging. Many 3D printers cannot build large parts due to build chamber size limitations. For many manufacturers, 3D printing large parts requires dividing them into multiple pieces and fastening them together. But this adds more time and cost to the workflow.

3D Printed Heavy Equipment Parts

3D Printed Heavy Equipment Parts

The Stratasys F770™ 3D printer was developed to provide manufacturers with an affordable and reliable means to use AM for big parts. The F770’s build chamber dimensions are 1,000 x 610 x 610 mm (39.4 x 24 x 24 in.), providing an overall build volume of 372 liters (13 cubic feet). The F770 is also built on the proven foundation of Stratasys FDM technology. Precise thermal control within the build chamber, linear motors and industrial-grade components provide reliable, accurate print performance. Soluble support material lets you build complex parts since the support material can be dissolved hands-free in a solution bath.

The Stratasys F770 is able to print large parts for prototyping and validating new designs in the heavy equipment industry. It also offers an economically viable means for end-use parts either as a bridge to full production or to produce low volumes of out-of production parts.

The F770 is also capable of quickly and cost-effectively making large jigs, fixtures and manufacturing aids. The design freedom of AM allows these tools to be more user friendly, ergonomic, lighter and more efficient than their heavier metal counterparts for certain applications.

Get our Application Report

The Application Report highlights relevant Additive Manufacturing (AM) applications for heavy equipment production using the Stratasys F770 3D printer. It also offers guidance on how to design parts with AM, which is different than designing them for conventional manufacturing. Finally, it presents valuable insight on how to get the best results when printing large parts with the F770 printer.

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