High quality furniture design
VDS Culemborg is a furniture manufacturer in Culemborg, the Netherlands. They excel in the use of steel in their products. They design and manufacture mostly tables and chairs and work on private projects as well as office furniture. We had the opportunity to discuss with Meil Pannekoek and learn more about the company and how 3D printing benefits their business.
Using 3D printing in a steel environment
Since they primarily work with steel, a 3D printer doesn’t seem like an obvious match. VDS Culemborg found multiple uses of the Bolt Pro such as prototyping, tooling, fixtures and small productionseries. Furthermoe, the multiple applications with the Bolt Pro lead to an impressive two-month return on investment.
3D printing vs CNC milling
The benefits of 3D printing compared to CNC milling is the control it offers and reduction in lead-times for a part. Being able to 3D print in-house reduced their lead-time for prototyping with multiple days to sometimes more than a week. This allowed them to more quickly improve their design and get feedback from their client. The result was a shorter lead time, which means finishing the project faster while maintaining a high-quality product.
VDS has a lot of different types of products and different series which they manufacture. Creating unique tools using conventional products to speed up the production process would almost be counter-productive. But with the use of 3D printing, collars, mounting appliances or clearance tools can easily and quickly be created.
Increased flexibility with unique fixtures
VDS Culemborg is also one of the few fully certified testers of furniture. This allows them to completely achieve any requests of their clients while creating safe and regulated products. They have a lab setup with multiple tests where they can check the quality of design. And of course, they also were pushing the boundaries of their work here, so they were in need of additional fixtures, to better control their test.
The versatility of Flex Filament
One surprising fixture they showed us was a camera mount for an aluminium extrusion profile frame. The model is what you would expect from a part like this, but they made the part from Flex filament instead of PLA. Printed with a high infill, the result was a far more durable part and rigid. Additionally, it also provided more grip when ‘snapped on’ the rail as well as more grip when fastened using bolts. This is an excellent example of using the freedom of infill amount to your advantage with a flexible filament.
Small production series with the Bolt Pro
3D printers are not
This method was used on the production of small parts like the caps found on the bottom of your chair leg for example.