Shortcomings of 3D Keltool? The hundreds of companies that use it to make
thousands of inserts and millions of parts don't necessarily think so. There
are limitations (as there are with any process). Let's talk about your
1. Building size is limited - sure it is. Current maximum build envelope is
215mm (8.5 in.) x 150mm (5.9 in.) wide x 100 mm (4.0) high (with a peaked
maximum height of 145mm (5.75 in.). The maximum volume of a 3D Keltool insert
is limited to 2.3 liters (144 cu. in.). Keep in mind that 3D Keltool is not
limited at all if you can accept knit-lines when you press fit two or more
inserts together in your mold base. 3D Keltool is not a technology for large-
sized molds however, it is ideal for molds that are within the above
dimensions and, it is especially valuable to companies needing to produce
inserts for their conventionally produced (CND/EDM) molds when these inserts
have complex geometry and/or are feature rich.
2. Shrinkage - it's linear and isotropic. 3D Keltool is a proven technology.
The process works, and it's repeatable. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate
that is to understand that it is being licensed by 3D Systems. That means
that the process not only works for 3D Systems and their insert-buying
customers but, the technology is transferable and it works for the 3D Keltool
licensees around the world.
3. Manual labor - 3D Keltool inserts require minimal labor to produce. At 3D
Systems' St. Paul, MN facility, each insert requires approximately two hours
of labor to produce. Of course there is post-processing work required to put
the inserts into the mold base but of course there is. Even CNC machining and
EDMing requires multiple steps/passes to produce a finished surface.
4. License Fee - licensing 3D Keltool is not inexpensive. But consider this:
buying a 3D Keltool license enables licensees to continue doing their current
moldmaking work while dramatically increasing their capacity and ability to
produce production steel inserts. 3D Keltool enables companies to move their
bottleneck from making inserts (molding surfaces) to assembling molds. When
you talk to most mold makers, their biggest problem typically is producing the
molding surfaces. 3D Keltool offers one of the most significant and cost
effective ways of increasing moldmaking productivity (does a 2X increase in
moldmaker productivity sound good? Can a new high speed CNC machine make
moldmaker productivity increase that much?). It would be great if 3D Systems
can bring the cost of a license down but I understand the typical ROI for a 3D
Keltool licensee is about 24 months depending on how many inserts they use it
to produce. The value that an investment delivers is much more important than
the cost of the investment.
I hope this information addresses your concerns Min.
In a message dated 1/5/99 8:36:06 PM Pacific Standard Time, email@example.com
> I appreciate your favorable feedback, Dan.
> But I hear there seems to be some shortcomings in Keltool process.
> It is said that the shortcomings of the process is as follows.
> 1. Building size is limited ----- smaller size preferred.
> 2. Material shrinkage is not homogeneous over all the features.
> 3. Manual labor should be intervened.
> 4. License fee is too expensive.
> Yes..you can say Keltool process is not, almighty and, the best solution
> for every appliction.
> I however think, unless the above shortcomings is overcame,
> it can not be welcomed as a general solution for rapid tooling.
> Then I wanna ask you how to overcome those shortcomings in the industry?
> Any feedback you can give me would be always appreciated.
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