The complexity possible through 3D printing is especially helpful for making specific replacement parts, and incorporating the technology is a good way to provide excellent customer service for those who need parts not easily found in traditional supply chains, like components for older machinery. In addition, one of the other great benefits of 3D printed parts is that they are typically more lightweight, and components can also be made in one piece, rather than several.
New York-based Hansford Parts and Products, a manufacturer and precision machine shop located not far from Rochester, was recently looking for a replacement for a broken gear shaft on a 1960s rack mill, made in Germany, that has not had available parts for a long time. So employees kicked things into high gear (get it?) and partnered up with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which secured a grant in 2016 to open an AMPrint Center, to come up with an answer.
Researchers from RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) worked out a unique 3D printing solution with Hansford, and used a process that employed additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques at the same time in a traditional CNC machining center.