Anaheim, Calif. — Mack Prototype Inc., a subsidiary of Mack Molding Co., has invested $150,000 in a new 3D printer to meet demand for large prototypes and production-grade parts.
"One of the big gaps we had was being able to provide big parts quickly," Greg Cebular, president of Mack Prototype, told Plastics News at MD&M in Anaheim Feb. 8. "Especially when we're looking at long-term production work, [customers] need to get something out and testing it while the tool is being built.
"It gives them an opportunity to get parts that are a little bit closer to what they would get out of production because it's an engineered plastic," he said.
The Stratasys F770 fused deposition modeling system runs ABS and ASA materials and features a print bed of 39 inches by 24 inches by 24 inches — the widest build chamber of any Stratasys FDM 3D printer, a Feb. 7 news release said. Its applications range from large prototypes to large master patterns used in cast urethane molding and low-volume runs of parts of various sizes.
"The 3D printer allows us to get either one or two printed, or we can cast parts in three to four weeks … assemble everything and see what it looks like, either before [customers] start launching tools or while the tools [are being made] and they just need parts to [test]," Cebular said.
"With big tools you could have big, expensive mistakes if you don't catch something early on," he added.
The 13 cubic feet of build volume allows the machine to produce large parts or assortments of smaller parts, the release said.
The machine "immediately" filled up with orders for parts after it was installed in November 2022, Cebular said.
Mack Prototype has seen an uptick in new opportunities for all its additive manufacturing capacity in the last couple of months, he said, including "a nice mix" of prototype and end-use, production-grade parts.
"We're able to supply flexibility from one part to hundreds or thousands of parts," Cebular said.
In the last 18 months, Mack Prototype has invested more than $875,000 in its additive manufacturing capabilities, adding equipment and infrastructure. The company's 3D printing fleet includes a smaller-format FDM printer, a Carbon CLIP Digital Light Synthesis, a HP Multi Jet Fusion and a Formlabs Stereolithography machine.
"Our team of engineers can help customers with their low-volume and bridge production requirements with flexible solutions designed to deliver high-quality parts while reducing time and cost," Cebular added in the release. "Even better, if those production needs change, we are prepared to help customers meet volume demand with traditional tooling, rapidly scaling production here or at one of Mack's larger manufacturing centers."