World’s first additive, subtractive manufacturing service launched

Process combines metal 3D printing and 5-axis CNC machining for complex, low-volume components.

August 5, 2015   by PLANT Staff

ZHONGSHAN, China — A China-based, British-owned rapid manufacturer has launched AddSub Manufacturing – a process that combines metal 3D printing and 5-axis CNC machining to quickly deliver complex, low-volume components that would previously have required the input of two separate bureaus.

STAR Prototype, which is based in Guandong Province, developed the service after it identified a significant demand for a one-stop-shop for such components.

Complex components made by STAR Prototype. PHOTO: STAR Prototype

Complex components made by STAR Prototype. PHOTO: STAR Prototype

“Most metal 3D printed parts are not used as prototypes, but as complex low-volume manufactured components, and many of these parts need certain high-precision features that are virtually impossible to produce with 3D printing alone,” said Gordon Styles, president of STAR.

“The problems arise because most 3D printing companies don’t carry out secondary machining, meaning the customer needs to take care of the work themselves or farm it out to a specialist machining bureau.”

STAR has removed this time-consuming and often error-strewn leg from the manufacturing process with the development of AddSub Manufacturing, a system that allows parts to be transferred directly from its 3D printing machines onto its CNC machines without having to be removed from the build plate. This also resolves the troublesome issue of subcontractors getting to grips with 3D printed parts.

STAR sees the Subtractive CNC element of AddSub suiting applications such as mating faces, precision bores, tapped holes, spigots and other very necessary high-precision features, and could also be used in the motor-sport, aerospace, military, medical and dental industries.

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