PADT (3)

Additive manufacturing has been making a transition from prototyping, to a legitimate way to produce end-use parts. This has been a goal of the industry for some time, and many companies are embracing this change and looking for ways to use 3D printing to improve their product manufacturing. As with any process, engineers need to understand and take in to account what is unique about additive manufacturing when designing components that will be printed. Most aspects are the same as any process, but there a five key differences that should be taken into account.


Each technology offers one or more unique materials with unique properties and design constraints. Manufacturers are working on adding materials that increase the end-use application opportunities, with new materials coming out about every six months. When choosing a material for end-use, designers need to know what options they have and consider strength, stiffness, voids, non-uniform properties, chemical interaction, UV sensitivity and a host of other properties.


Every manufacturing method has something you need to work around, in additive manufacturing it is supports. As layers are deposited, supports must be used to constrain any overhanging material or gravity will pull the layer down. And with metal, supports are needed to conduct heat away and hold layers down against thermal strains. Even if that support material is powder or water soluble, every design needs to consider the following - the amount of support material required, the added cost, the removal process, and what the surface will look like, after removal, where the supports were connected. The best option is to remove as many supports as possible. Additionally, make sure that supports are not attached to any critical surfaces, if they are, expensive and time consuming post processing will be required. The removal of supports on plastic is fairly straightforward, often automatic, but with metal the material needs to be cut or ground off. Making sure that there is access to do this can be one of the biggest design challenges for metal end-use parts.


Additive manufacturing is… additive. Almost all 3D printing methods build a part by creating one layer at a time. This creates directional material properties, as well as small stair steps on the outside surface. Strength, stiffness and Poison’s ratio are not uniform. Any design should consider what the variation is and take it in to account. The part should be oriented in the machine to minimize, or even take advantage of, the impact of a layer-based process.

Machine Constraints

Just as with any process, the limitations of the machine being used to make a part should be considered. The most obvious constraint is size. Although parts can be glued together or welded after printing, this is an added step and cost. The other significant machine constraint is layer height and minimum horizontal resolution. Every technology has a layer thickness that is discreet, so the dimension of a part or feature in the build direction must be a multiple of this thickness. Likewise, the resolution in the horizontal plane is a hard constraint.

Critical Dimensions and Features

Although accurate features and key dimensions can be a challenge with any additive processes, it is OK. Parts can still be machined. A good design minimizes the number of machining operations, but if used wisely, the machining cost will be much less than traditional methods and still deliver highly accurate critical features and dimensions.

Every manufacturing process has its strengths and weaknesses, and additive manufacturing is no different. As more and more parts are found that can benefit from this method, a good designer can take what makes it unique into account and design cost effective and durable components.

Eric Miller is a principal at PADT Inc. He is often called on to speak on the use of simulation and 3D Printing to enhance product development. His involvement in the startup community includes angel investing and mentoring. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT), announced its project proposal titled “A Non-Empirical Predictive Model for Additively Manufactured Lattice Structures,” has been accepted as part of a multi-million dollar grant from the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, America Makes. PADT’s proposal was one of only seven selected, and one of only two where the leading organization was a small business.

To complete the deliverables, Arizona State University (ASU), Honeywell Aerospace and LAI International are assisting PADT in technical research with contributions from Prof. Howard Kuhn, a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a leading educator in Additive Manufacturing, for workforce and educational outreach.

“While there are several efforts ongoing in developing design and optimization software for lattice structures in additive manufacturing, there has been little progress in developing a robust, validated material model that accurately describes how these structures behave,” said Dhruv Bhate, PhD, senior technologist, PADT and author and principal investigator of the proposal. “We are honored to be chosen to research this important issue and provide the tools to enable entrepreneurs, manufacturers and makers to integrate lattice structures in their designs.”

One of the most definitive benefits of additive manufacturing is the ability to reduce weight while maintaining mechanical performance. A way to achieve this is by adding lattice structures to parts before manufacturing. The advantages are crucial and can result in increased design flexibility, lower material costs and significant reductions in production time for industries such as aerospace and automotive.

Another aspect of PADT’s winning proposal is the development of a first-of-a-kind online, collaborative living textbook on Additive Manufacturing that seeks to provide comprehensive, up-to-date and structured information in a field where over 50 papers are published worldwide every day. In addition, the team will develop a training class that addresses manufacturing, testing, theory and simulation as well as how they are combined together to deliver robust predictions of lattice behavior.

“We have identified Additive Manufacturing as a key lever of innovation in our company and recognize lattice structures as an important design capability to reduce mass, improve performance and reduce costs,” said Suraj Rawal, Technical Fellow, Advanced Technology Center at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company – a leader in implementing Additive Manufacturing. “We also recognize the significance of this work in lattice behavior modeling and prediction as an important contribution to help implement the design, manufacturing, and performance validation of structures in our innovative designs.”

The award of this grant is another example of the leadership role that Arizona is playing in advancing the practical application of Additive Manufacturing, better known as 3D Printing. PADT’s leadership role in the Arizona Technology Council’s Arizona Additive Manufacturing Committee, support of basic research in the area at ASU, and involvement with educating the next generation of users underscores PADT’s contribution to this effort and furthers the company’s commitment to “Make Innovation Work.”

Friday, 15 May 2015 09:13

PADT Acquires CADCAM Systems

Written by

Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) the Southwest’s largest provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Stratasys Reseller business of CADCAM Systems, based in Boulder Colorado. This move immediately boosts PADT’s existing 3D Printer sales and support customer base by approximately 30%, adding clients in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, making PADT the largest distributor of 3D Printing systems to commercial customers in the Four Corners region.

CADCAM Systems, like PADT, has been a leader in 3D Printing sales and support, working with global manufacturer Stratasys to help build usage in the Rocky Mountain States. Throughout the course of its history, CADCAM Systems has built a reputation for outstanding technical ability and customer service. As customers transition to PADT for system support, consumables and future machines, they will receive the same exceptional service they are used to, now from PADT’s offices in Littleton, Colorado, Murray, Utah, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Additional support will come from PADT’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. Customers will have the added advantage of access to PADT’s other products and services, including 3D Printing services, ANSYS simulation software, product development, and simulation services.

“When we heard that CADCAM Systems was interested in selling their Stratasys business, we were immediately interested.” Said Rey Chu, co-owner at PADT and a recognized expert in the Additive Manufacturing industry. “We knew they took excellent care of their customers and had strong client bases in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, three states that we’ve been growing aggressively in. It was an obvious fit for both companies.”

The acquisition will have no impact on the number of people employed at either company. During the transition, customers who purchased maintenance agreements from CADCAM Systems will be serviced by them until they expire, at which time they have the option to renew with PADT. Some 3D Printing material supplies will be available from CADCAM Systems as well during the transition, with PADT taking over that service in the coming months.

This acquisition was made as part of PADT’s long term strategy to strengthen their position as the premier supplier of mechanical engineering products and services in the Southwest. The company continues to make investments in staff, services offered, and products represented to meet the demands of existing and future customers, continuing to prove a commitment to the company’s motto “We Make Innovation Work.”

For more information, visit:

Copyright © 2019 Prototype Today ®. All rights reserved.

|   Privacy Policy |   Terms & Conditions |   Contact Us |

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Additive Manufacturing Today