cover VS FRAME | 3ntr

Frame welding: 3ntr 3D printed equipment cuts production time by 70%

Thanks to the use of 3ntr’s A2V4 3D printer, VS Frame was able to reduce the construction times of motorcycle and e-bike frame prototypes by up to 70%, while ensuring interesting future outlets in the automotive field.

In modern mechanical workshops, welding is one of the most complex processes to manage. It is not just a question of technology, but also of the competence and experience of specialized operators and their difficulty in finding them on the market. For this reason, any solution capable of facilitating or speeding up this process is welcomed by companies. VS Frame is among these. Specialized in design, assembly and welding, particularly in the motorcycle and e-bike field, it boasts over 30 years of experience. VS Frame recently found a valid aid in optimizing and speeding up its production process in the 3ntr A2V4 3D printer.

VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr

3D printing to support welding

VS Frame takes care of all the processes connected to welding operations, including the creation of the related equipment. “We specialize in the production of motorcycle frames and, more recently, also those for e-bikes,” explains Matteo Saetti, Project Engineer of VS Frame. “We are mainly active in the construction of templates and prototypes. The phase that requires the most time is the initial phase, since the sample must be created with the geometries indicated as per the project specifications. Since there are no references and no equipment to modify in an agile and quick way, until not long ago everything required many hours of work and operators with considerable skills. After taking additive manufacturing into consideration for the creation of models and support equipment, we discovered that these times could be reduced by up to 70%“.

VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr

The advantages of A2V4 3D printer

In VS Frame, various 3D printing solutions available on the market were evaluated, to reach the conclusion that the ideal mix between printing area, execution speed and purchase cost was that offered by 3ntr’s A2V4. The A2V4 in fact offers a printing volume of 600x325x500 mm, sufficient to accommodate large parts. Another appreciable advantage deriving from the use of 3ntr machines is the variety of polymers that can be used: various types of ABS, PETG, ASA, ELASTO 85 and 95, Nylon+, Glass+ and many others, which can also be processed simultaneously via the co-molding process.

VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr

The company is thus able to print the elements of the frames and, on that basis, prepare the equipment to manage the welding of the parts to be assembled, naturally with the necessary precautions. “Instead of having a specialized operator work for several hours, thanks to the use of 3D printing we are able to break down the geometry of the bicycle, create a model with the A2V4 printer and from this obtain the reference masks and templates, with a clear reduction of the timing,” adds Saetti. “Obviously, since these are plastic components, they cannot be placed in the immediate vicinity of the welding area, but it is sufficient to position them about 20 cm away to have a precise reference. Furthermore, we have many different materials available, each with its own characteristics: we mostly use ABS, which satisfies most of our needs, but when necessary we exploit ASA which ensures almost double the yield strength and which performs very well. also works well in proximity to the welding areas, without showing distortions or overheating“.

VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr

New possibilities

3D printing is a technology that offers countless application outlets. At VS Frame they have only begun to explore its potential: “We also deal with the pressure checks of welded pipes, whose welds must not present porosity“, adds Matteo Saetti. “The problem is that we always use tubes with different diameters and sections, so it became complicated to create specific adapters each time. Now that we have the A2V4 printer, however, we are able to produce them to measure and in a short time, so as to also carry out these tests, saving time and money“.

The automotive sector can also benefit from the potential offered by additive manufacturing. For example, in sheet metal stamping, aluminum control gauges are set up to check the tolerances of the pieces. “This equipment requires the use of numerically controlled machine tools; furthermore, they weigh a lot and have significant costs”, concludes Saetti. “Making them in plastic material can prove to be a winning choice, as it significantly shortens production times and costs and reduces their overall weight. Furthermore, as they are not subject to particular stress, they last a long time and maintain their dimensional precision unaltered. These are generously sized components, but this is not a problem: 3ntr has an even larger model in its catalogue, the Sequoia, and if this business were to take off we would know who to turn to to meet our needs“.

VS FRAME | 3ntr
VS FRAME | 3ntr

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