It’s an age old question. Should I use additive manufacturing or another process to create my product? Or as SME puts it…To 3D print or not to 3D print? At RAPID + TCT last week, SME announced that they have partnered with GM and Dr. Michael Grieves of the Florida Institute of Technology to create ITEAM, the Independent Technical Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing Consortium, to address that question. ITEAM was formed to develop a web-based evaluation system to aid manufacturers in making better decisions in additive manufacturing. The chief things that ITEAM is concerned with are the following: Is this something I can 3D print? Does it make sense to 3D print it? What’s the best machine, material and process to 3D print this particular part?
ITEAM is creating a virtual repository of additive manufacturing machines and materials, as well as tools to evaluate additive manufactured parts. The consortium is creating a methodology called SAM-CT (size, accuracy and materials + economic evaluation of cost and throughput). It addresses if something can and should be produced by additive manufacturing — or if better methods exist based on cost and throughput.