What do you do when an important replacement part for an exhibit suddenly goes missing on the way to a trade show? The answer of the Berlin-based company Blackcam, a manufacturer of camera movement systems, was to call in our 3D printing service. We use industrial 3D printers to manufacture individual customer components in just a few hours, which are optimised for low friction and wear resistance. This is how the missing special lubrication-free plain bearing was made.
A look behind the scenes of any Hollywood film set will almost always reveal a track on which the large camera dolly moves. But what has worked well for decades for filming movies is not suitable for live broadcasts, as these camera dolly systems can restrict the audience's view at concerts and sports events. Blackcam, a Berlin-based company, is therefore developing a new solution: compact, remote-controlled dolly systems that move the camera over narrow rails. These types of dolly systems are becoming increasingly popular in the entertainment industry. Ferenc Tiefenbach, an engineer at Blackcam, is often on the road with exhibits at trade shows. While travelling through Düsseldorf Airport, the engineer was carrying the prototype of a new dolly system developed for football matches when he noticed one of the plain bearings was defective. He did not have a spare part with him. So what to do? Tiefenbach opted for our 3D printing service. Because we use high-performance plastics to produce small volumes and one-offs with industrial 3D printers within a very short time.
Upload the CAD model of the part to the igus® website, select printing material, for example iglidur® i180, a highly wear-resistant, high-performance plastic, and order it immediately. The part is shipped usually within 24 hours. In the urgent case of Ferenc Tiefenbach, the bearing could be picked up a few hours after the order was placed. Thus the exhibit was once again ready for the trade show. Ferenc Tiefenbach is convinced: "It is remarkable that igus is able to manufacture a single component so quickly, despite the size of the company." The costs are also reasonable. The component cost 96 euros.
Among other things, we use the material iglidur i180 for 3D printing. The high-performance plastic is impressive with its high wear resistance. Its superiority over the classic filament made of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) has been proven in experiments in igus® test laboratory. Plain bearings moved on a 0.37-metre-long, hard anodised aluminium shaft at a speed of 0.34 metres per second and a surface pressure of 0.11 MPa. The result: The 3D-printed bearing made of ABS showed a wear rate of 13.3 micrometres per kilometre. For the bearing made of iglidur i180 over the same distance, the wear was only 0.8 micrometres. However, the bearings are not only more durable, they are also more economical in operation. They enable maintenance-free dry operation without the need for lubricating oil. Thus, they are the ideal candidates for the camera dolly systems from Blackcam.
Plastic grippers from igus® filaments. They come directly from the 3D printing process. Since 2015, igus® has been offering tribologically optimised 3D print filaments for 3D printing. If the CAD data of a product are available, it would be easy to manufacture it in an additive process.