Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printed Brackets

2021-01-22

Tessa Blokland  

BMW-bracket_1_CR_900x600

One of the 3D printed industrial parts that turned out to be a popular choice for Additive Manufacturing is a bracket. Thanks to 3D printing a bracket can be optimized in shape, used material, and weight, as you can see in the top image, or helping to improve the performance of a part as well as a structure in which a bracket is used. Brackets are used in the aerospace and automotive industries. A bracket is a fastener, designed to hold two perpendicular parts together in an assembly and to strengthen the angle. Although brackets are fairly simple parts, they do hold together structures all around us (think buildings, planes, and cars), largely determining the strength, resilience, and integrity of those structures. Here are some interesting brackets I have found online and got tipped via my LinkedIn request.

This is a 3D printed roof bracket for the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster. It took quite some effort to finetune the part, but thanks to additive manufacturing and topology optimization software, BMW’s designers and engineers were able to decrease the weight of the part (meaning less fuel, more efficient in cost, and eco-friendly) and the amount of material required in the part while keeping the strength and the available space of the part in the car.

The second 3D printed bracket, the lightHinge + engine hood loop, is the result of a collaboration between EDAG, Voestalpine, and Simufact. The challenge of the redesign was to fulfill the requirements for strength and rigidity with the greatest possible reduction in weight, as well as to carry out functional integration with a corresponding reduction in the number of components. As you can see on the image, thanks to topological optimization and AM, the end result provided a weight reduction of 52% and a reduction of the number of components by 68% compared to the original sheet metal part. What I also like about this project is the collaboration of the three partners: a holistic approach taking into account the entire technological chain of additive production.

What about the 3D printed bracket, design by David Truyens from Toolsquare? Also here a reduction of material, weight, and cheaper to print, according to Truyens’ post. by the way, it took him 3 times longer to design the traditional one.

As I have mentioned in the introduction of this blog post. Brackets are also used in the aerospace industry. Here is an example of a 3D printed bracket used by ESA (European Space Agency). Because of the reduction of weight and freedom of design, AM is the right technology to optimize parts in space-related vehicles.

The last example is a 3D printed seat bracket from GM. According to the website, this bracket is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its conventional bracket. On top of that, the original bracket required eight separate parts (purchased from several different automotive suppliers), whereas thanks to AM and optimization software the new bracket is 3D printed as one.

LEO Lane_Weekly Pick_3D Printed Brackets

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.

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