Every sourcing agent knows the nightmare of tracking down suppliers for old or irregular parts, which have low demand and high MOQs. We had a client with this exact problem. Our client needed a buffer for a 1967 bogie. With no material data and only an old 2D drawing, it would ordinarily be expensive and time consuming to figure out how to reproduce a part like this — let alone manufacture it.
We solved it in four steps:
1. We created a 3D model.
2. We picked an equivalent printable material. 3. We produced and tested a new buffer.
4. We shipped directly to our client.
Our client quickly received a replacement part that matched the required hardness, impact strength and aging properties. Even better, we saved them the headache and challenge of trying to find a traditional supplier to do such a unique order.
The elastomeric buffer 3D-printed onto a metal bolt, which reduced the need for assembly and yielded the same adhesion characteristics as vulcanized rubber.