German tool specialist uses 3D printing in “world-first” drills

German high-tech drilling solutions company Mapal has claimed a world-first use of 3D printing to help create a new range of insert drills.

3Dprint.com and others report that the company's QTD-series drill inserts, ranging in diameter from 8 mm to 32.75 mm, were manufactured in a hybrid way. The shanks were machined conventionally and the more complex areas laser melted on a Concept Laser LaserCUSING machine.

The claimed benefits included what was offered through previously impossible geometries, including making coolant channels in smaller-sized drills. This was previously impossible, said the company’s head of R&D, Dirk Sellmer.

"The additively manufactured insert drill has a cooling concept with spiral ducts, which improves the cooling performance," 3Ders reports Dr Sellmer as saying.

"Compared with the previous central coolant supply with y diversion, a spiral coolant routing increases the coolant flow by 100%."

The end result of this and other new properties would be longer tool lives and the ability to create these in smaller diameters than previously.

"In general, additive manufacturing facilitates new product solutions, which would be inconceivable with conventional methods,“ said Sellmer.

Mapal was established in 1950 and is headquartered in Aalen.