Apple will use 3D printing to make Apple Watch Ultra mechanical parts

Posted:
in Apple Watch

The next edition of the Apple Watch Ultra will feature titanium mechanical parts where some have been produced by 3D printing to save time and cost, says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

The first-generation Apple Watch Ultra
The first-generation Apple Watch Ultra



Apple is not likely to be turning to consumer 3D printers for the new Apple Watch Ultra, but reportedly it will be moving away from its regular CNC machining process, at least in part. Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) is the process of taking CAD designs and automatically manufacturing the parts by cutting at the material.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will continue to use CNC and that it will even be used to finish off elements of the 3D printed mechanical parts. But by moving to 3D printing, Kuo says that Apple can speed up the time taken for production -- while simultaneously cutting down on costs.

2H23 New Apple Watch Ultra mechanical parts to adopt 3D printing technology; key suppliers including IPG Photonics, Farsoon and BLT / 2H23Apple Watch Ultra3DIPG Photonicshttps://t.co/PngNIIihC9

-- (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo)



In his full report, Kuo goes on to speculate that Apple will adopt 3D printing for other products. As well as the same savings in time and cost, he believes it will help improve on Apple's ESG performance -- the Environmental, Social and Governance metrics that concern a company's sustainability.

A second generation of the Apple Watch Ultra is expected to be announced in the fall, possibly alongside the Apple Watch Series 9.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    jfabula1jfabula1 Posts: 138member
    Awaiting blood sugar sensor…..for millions of us diabetics 
    williamlondonAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    multimediamultimedia Posts: 1,037member
    5 nm processor for faster more efficient longer battery life.
    dk49Anilu_777geekmeedesignrcaladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    this last update just was horrible with my watch. Badgered me a million times to double-click to install apps. Slowly turning into a time vampire. Issue software updates faster.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Also! Awaiting Blood Pressure sensor…..for millions
    of us Hypertensives. 
    williamlondondesignrwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Anilu_777Anilu_777 Posts: 552member
    I’ll wait for 3D printing. I’m not sure of the quality control in that vs machining. Maybe someone can inform me
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,674member
    There is no 3D printing process that can handle the volume for the production of Apple Watch.    

    This article is bogus.  3D printing is only used for prototypes.   
    mayflywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Wowza! I didn't even know 3D printers could use titanium! After consulting ChatGPT, I learned that it's done with lasers! Spread a layer of titanium powder on the printing plate, the use a laser to melt the powder in the shape of the first layer of the object being printed. Repeat until fully finished.

    But y'all knew that, right?
    bloggerblogwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 23
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 399member
    eriamjh said:
    There is no 3D printing process that can handle the volume for the production of Apple Watch.    

    This article is bogus.  3D printing is only used for prototypes.   
    Don't be so quick to judge. People thought that machining unibody chassis was a bogus idea when everybody else was stamping parts out of sheet metal, but that's precisely what Apple does. Selective laser sintering can be faster than CNC machining if the parts are small and multiple lasers are employed over the powder bed.
    geekmeedesignrtmaybloggerblogcaladanianwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 23
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,674member
    We’ll see who’s right.  
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 632member
    Anilu_777 said:
    I’ll wait for 3D printing. I’m not sure of the quality control in that vs machining. Maybe someone can inform me
    I am sure Apple has already meet that standard. I would rest easy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    cg27cg27 Posts: 214member
    Whatever happened with Liquid Metal?  Besides the SIM card removal tool, has Apple employed it elsewhere?
    williamlondoncaladanianwatto_cobramobird
  • Reply 12 of 23
    I wait to see it at my local store before purchasing it!  Will be wearing my current Ultra too! :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    brisancebrisance Posts: 63member
    eriamjh said:
    There is no 3D printing process that can handle the volume for the production of Apple Watch.    

    This article is bogus.  3D printing is only used for prototypes.   
    When people said it couldn't be done, Apple went to do it. Apple is the single largest owner of CNC mills in the world. What makes you think they can't acquire enough 3D printers to achieve what they need to do? Source: https://www.cncmasters.com/cnc-milling-allowed-apple-to-create-the-worlds-thinnest-laptop/ and https://www.ped30.com/2018/03/22/apple-cnc-mill/ (paywalled)

    3D printed parts are already in use everywhere. Dentures have been 3D printed for decades now. 3D printed parts are even in use in space. Get educated.
    MacProwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,474member
    Per article, this 3D printing still requires CNC for the final passed
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,280member
    If Apple truly cares about Environmental, Social and Governance metrics, they would:

    - design iPhones and iPads like the Fair Phone (completely modular and user repairable) and give up some of the IP ratings as a compromise.

    - design the iMac so that it can function as a standalone monitor for other devices and allow users to swap the ‘computer’ side of the iMac and take the old in for recycling.

    - design the Mac Studio and Mac Mini to be completely user repairable / components replaceable. 

    Obviously the Watch is the hardest one to adjust since it’s supposed to be waterproof and the components are tiny. At least the battery should be user replaceable.

    But Apple overall is doing a poor job on the environmental side.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 23
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    If Apple truly cares about Environmental, Social and Governance metrics, they would:

    - design iPhones and iPads like the Fair Phone (completely modular and user repairable) and give up some of the IP ratings as a compromise.

    - design the iMac so that it can function as a standalone monitor for other devices and allow users to swap the ‘computer’ side of the iMac and take the old in for recycling.

    - design the Mac Studio and Mac Mini to be completely user repairable / components replaceable. 

    Obviously the Watch is the hardest one to adjust since it’s supposed to be waterproof and the components are tiny. At least the battery should be user replaceable.

    But Apple overall is doing a poor job on the environmental side.
    What American corporation is doing a good job on the environmental side? I mean better than Apple. And what is it they're doing better than Apple?
    williamlondonStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    XedXed Posts: 2,657member
    mayfly said:
    Wowza! I didn't even know 3D printers could use titanium! After consulting ChatGPT, I learned that it's done with lasers! Spread a layer of titanium powder on the printing plate, the use a laser to melt the powder in the shape of the first layer of the object being printed. Repeat until fully finished.

    But y'all knew that, right?
    I learned about it 4 years ago. Try to find the episode. Interesting stuff.

    edited July 2023 williamlondonmayflywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    thttht Posts: 5,529member
    If Apple truly cares about Environmental, Social and Governance metrics, they would:

    - design iPhones and iPads like the Fair Phone (completely modular and user repairable) and give up some of the IP ratings as a compromise.

    - design the iMac so that it can function as a standalone monitor for other devices and allow users to swap the ‘computer’ side of the iMac and take the old in for recycling.

    - design the Mac Studio and Mac Mini to be completely user repairable / components replaceable. 

    Obviously the Watch is the hardest one to adjust since it’s supposed to be waterproof and the components are tiny. At least the battery should be user replaceable.

    But Apple overall is doing a poor job on the environmental side.
    No. I think you are totally wrong on this. Apple is leading the charge. They have stated goals to get to carbon-neutral and have the means to do it. They have the stated goal to go to closed-cycle manufacturing where they plan recycling everything in their products and using those materials to build their new products. They have stated goals to make their products recyclable or compostable and are gradually getting rid of plastics when possible. They can't get to completely closed-cycle - unless human population actually stagnates and decreases - but getting to say 90% closed-cycle for an electronics product would be monumental.

    If there was some gov't action to be done, I think I would mandate that a company producing a product is also responsible for ensuring the product materials are recycled and or compostable, else-wise, they can't sell them, and they will be audited by gov't agencies and third parties to ensure they are doing so. The single most important thing about recycling is getting the product to a proper recycling state and process, and actually getting that product when EOL to a recycling facility. The latter isn't done that well by anybody.

    I'm not so sure that making products user-serviceable is actually environmentally friendly. Seems more often than not, it just means loads of extra components in people's drawers and companies' warehouses until they are dumped into a landfill. I would need to see some data that says user-serviceable products actually is net-net more environmentally friendly. Other-wise, all it seems to mean is a larger number of components produced that aren't properly disposed of nor recycled.

    And, the gov't should also outlaw plastic and foam of all kinds too. It really should be aluminum (or other recyclable metal), glass, and paper-based products. All water bottles, milk jugs, juice bottles, have to be in aluminum or glass containers. Maybe at minimum, those plastic/oil lined paper based containers. Plastic bags should straight up be banned.
    williamlondonStrangeDaysmacxpresswatto_cobratmayFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 23
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
    If Apple truly cares about Environmental, Social and Governance metrics, they would:

    - design iPhones and iPads like the Fair Phone (completely modular and user repairable) and give up some of the IP ratings as a compromise.

    - design the iMac so that it can function as a standalone monitor for other devices and allow users to swap the ‘computer’ side of the iMac and take the old in for recycling.

    - design the Mac Studio and Mac Mini to be completely user repairable / components replaceable. 

    Obviously the Watch is the hardest one to adjust since it’s supposed to be waterproof and the components are tiny. At least the battery should be user replaceable.

    But Apple overall is doing a poor job on the environmental side.
    Actually your opinion on how well they’re doing is quite rubbish, which is why they routinely achieve high environmental report scores. Nobody’s devices have as long a useful lifespan, and are as recyclable. They’re even working toward the lofty closed-loop goal of using all recycled materials. 

    Just because a few DIY nerds can’t readily swap out batteries doesn’t mean they’re doing poorly, whatsoever. Edjamacate yourself. 
    edited July 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobratmayright_said_fred
  • Reply 20 of 23
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,397member
    eriamjh said:
    There is no 3D printing process that can handle the volume for the production of Apple Watch.    

    This article is bogus.  3D printing is only used for prototypes.   
    Uhm, no...

    Here's a large part;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb_cHMtl3g0

    increased part complexity and weight reduction are the key advantages of 3D printing over other production processes, and in fact many parts are hybrids of 3D printing, machining, and fabrication. it appears that Apple with take advantage of 3D printing to increase part complexity ultimately reducing part count and assembly costs, and likely will finish machine some surfaces for precise fit.
    BiCCwilliamlondon
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