The 3D printing process saves weeks from the conventional CNC milling process, and allows them to perfect their design parts before full production:
- TREK were considering buying an SLA (Stereolithography) machine, an established rapid prototyping technology
- The company knew that SLA could make great parts that customers would like, but wanted to explore all options
- They were attracted by the ability of the Objet Connex 3D Printer to use multiple "digital" materials in the design process
- Looking closer at SLA they found that there was an overhead in post-processing - 4 people to finalize parts - which they viewed as a 'hidden cost'
- Objet Connex offered them a relatively simpler process, with less post-processing overhead
- For TREK, traditional CNC machined parts came with a typical 28 day backlog - that's a big impact if the part is wrong and another machine-run is required
- With Objet Connex the turnaround is 1 day - allowing for multiple iterations in the design process
- It turned out that the ABS-like 3D printed parts are strong enough even for testing brackets under stress
- TREK engineers were amazed at the first parts that came out of the Connex - a real part 'in your hand'