Powered Golf Cart produced by 3D printing technologies and Vacuum Casting.

Powered Golf Cart

Product development models from initial SLS parts to fully functioning prototype for sales & marketing….

In brief

“Golf Europe” is Europe's comprehensive golf show, exclusively for suppliers and buyers in the golfing world. PowaKaddy, the world famous market leader in golf cart technology, had a substantial stand in the Munich show back in October of last year (2006). It was at this show that they unveiled their latest powered golf cart, the P5™.

Model requirements….

Models and prototypes were produced at many stages of the product development cycle for this golf cart. SLA parts were produced at early concept stages. SLS pieces were manufactured as functional test pieces, especially for the handle area.
At the latter stages 8 sets fully functional sets of vacuum cast polyurethane resin components were required for various requirements including production assembly trials, photo shoots for marketing literature and fully functioning sales aids for the trade show.

3D Printing via Stereolithography – SLA

SLA parts were used in early stages as concept models. Shown here is one half of the handle just after the SLA build has completed; prior to support removal.

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Concept SLA Parts

Once the pieces were built, supports were carefully removed. As budget was limited, parts were given a light sandblast only. Conept pieces back to the customer after only one day.

Urgent Timeline

Scaled down simplified data of the engineering plant was broken down into many sections representing the differing areas of the plant. Several SLA printers and SLS printers were utilised simultaneously to speed up the process.

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Urgent Timeline

Once the pieces were built, supports were carefully removed. As budget was limited, parts were given a light sandblast and a quick coat of paint, the colour depicted the various sectors of the plant.The parts were mounted to a custom built display board. All in all the project was completed in just over a week

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How it was achieved…

The plastic components on the show carts were all produced using advanced prototype technologies at Malcolm Nicholls Limited. SLA masters were produced using the size advantage of MNL’s SLA5000 coupled with intricate detailing that the Viper SLA machine offers. The two technologies were used side by side to manufacture hybrid masters. “We typically replace detailed areas such as those found on product logos with a piece produced on the Viper SLA machine” explained Ross Nicholls, MNL’s General Manager. “The Viper gives us excellent detail, clarity and crispness. Quality is what this company was founded on; The Viper helps us to maintain our high standards” Nicholls continued.
The highly-skilled modelmaking team were able to apply the same surface finish to the masters as that found on the rest of the PowaKaddy product range. Silicon tooling replicated these masters resulting in a total of eight sets of polyurethane castings that closely simulated the injection moulded components. The consistency in surface finish was matched with the consistency in accuracy. “We used to have to tweak most of the prototype parts that other RP companies supplied to us; however since using Malcolm Nicholls Limited we simply assembled the plastic prototypes to the tubular framework” explained Lee Manvell, New Product Development Design Engineer at PowaKaddy. The completely new handle design was prototyped using another of MNL’s tools. The handle seen in the photos is a nylon SLS component, produced on the HiQ Sinterstation. The SLS parts were finished and painted to match the other components. A textured rubber-like skin with golf ball dimples was over-moulded onto the SLS handle. Once again SLA masters were produced to facilitate the silicone tools required for the over-moulding.
PowaKaddy sell into more than 50 countries, and following the show, the carts have toured the world visiting their various resellers and distributors. Functional prototypes have also been produced of various accessories including an SLS umbrella holder in Glass-filled nylon. “These parts were fantastic; they were so strong we were able to treat them like production mouldings.” concluded Manvell. PowaKaddy have put their prototypes to good use; including production assembly trials, photographic shoots for sales & marketing literature and of course the excellent fully functioning sales aids for the trade show in Munich.

Detailed Views

Textures like the fine spark finish here were applied to the early prototypes.

Minutes after the SLA build had finished shows a lot of the SLA resin in liquid form around the part.

Textures applied to masters were reproduced faithfully on each of the polyurethane mouldings.

Not all projects require detailed surface finishing. The brief here was to produce a visual representation of the textures on the production mouldings and reproduce them on all the sets of PU mouldings.

Why MNL?….

Malolm Nicholls limited were able to offer a full range of services to aid in producing models and prototypes at all stages of the product development. Concept models through to fully functioning prototypes that were indistiguishable from the production parts were all produced at competitive prices.

In conclusion….

Almost anyone can 3D print a model it’s what you do with it after is where MNL stands out from the crowd, with a selection of 3D Printing processes and a skilled model making team, make for a perfect project partnership.

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