As an engineer, I have always been interested in 3D printing. My love for it started at my first job out of school. I used plastic 3D printers for part prototypes, functional stands for machining, and even a replacement part for someone’s snowblower. I moved to metal printing of tooling components in order to perform complex geometries not possible with conventional machining.
My love for printing did not stop and has continued to grow over the years. At GondekEDC we have a small desktop plastic printer (Ender Pro) that is used for part prototypes, stands, and of course the Hamilton Hank holder. Last year this expanded even the future to 3D printed lanyard beads in steel. This was our first venture into metal 3D printing and was a great success.
With the success of the beads, we have been looking to expand further into 3D printed pry tools. We first started looking into generative designs in order to utilize AI in order to design the best shape for the given task (an example is shown on the left). We were able to do a few iterations of this, but the application didn’t work great with the simple load structure of a pry tool. The geometries it came up with were either too simplistic or crazy complex and not pocket-friendly.
After scraping that idea, we moved towards an internal lattice structure to build a complex shape as well as reduce weight. In 3D printing, it is rare to print a solid piece and the different printer slicing software makes a complex internal structure that decreases material used and print time while keeping strength as high as possible. The idea was to utilize this approach on the pry tool. This would allow for it to be lighter, help keep the print as economical as possible, and provide a design like never before seen in a pocket tool. After multiple iterations of different structures, the final design is shown below.
With this design completed the next step is to print it in metal (316L stainless steel) and see how it functions. Can’t wait for the print to be completed and test out our first functional 3D printed pry.