How can 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping help you?
The biggest value of 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping is that it saves lots of TIME and MONEY. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is actually holding your part in your hand worth? Nothing is better for demonstrating a potential product than an actual prototype that can be handled, tested, critiqued by customers, product development teams, trade shows, sales teams, etc. The intrinsic value of Rapid Prototypes is turnaround time, we can have your part in your hand tomorrow. We print parts, artistic designs, architectural models, really anything you can think of, and its built according to your exacting specifications. Its speed and low cost allows you to confirm your new designs early and frequently in the process.
We use Fused Deposition Modelingâ„˘(FDM) state-of-the-art StratasysÂ® DimensionÂ® 3D printers . FDM provides the best compromise between strength and accuracy. Using FDM can save thousands in injection mold design and milling costs. Your part or model will be made of strong, high quality ABSPlusâ„˘ thermoplastic. FDM ABSPlus models are 85% – 90% strength of injection molded ABS parts which make them very suitable for functional testing and can be directly used as finished production parts for certain applications in short runs. The FDM process is the most accurate rapid prototyping method available with a tolerance of +/- .005″. Your high accuracy and resolution model is ready to be shipped right to you. Dimensional stability is a key advantage of FDM prototypes, as opposed to SLA. Environmental exposure doesnâ€™t alter the size of the part or its features with FDM.
We can post-process your part by sanding, painting, drilling, electroplating, and chroming to look like metal and achieve CNC-like machined quality on important model features.
Steps to make your design, part or invention:
1. We start with your design, invention, 3D scan, art object, etc.
2. We then create with a 3D parametric computer model that is to your exact specifications.
3. From 3D CAD or 3D scan, an .STL file is exported to the 3D printer.
4. Using software the STL file is then translated into hundreds (or even thousands) of X and Y cross sectional data for the 3D printer.
5. Starting with the bottom slice, the 3D printer builds each slice at 0.010 inches on top of the previous, until all the slices are built and the prototype is complete.
What is Rapid Prototyping Used For?
Rapid prototyping can be used for many different applications. Such as:
Functional Models â€“ using the advanced properties of ABSPlusâ„˘ permits parts to be built similar to injected production ABS plastics allowing for functional testing of models before production has begun saving lots of time and money with making expensive molds.
Form and Fit Models – the increased accuracy of 3D printing allows designers to analyze how well multiple components or even full assemblies work together, or fit with existing components.
Visual Aids and Concept Verification – the ability to create 3D models quickly allows design teams, vendors and customers to help point out design flaws and to analyze a part for aesthetics, ergonomics and manufacturability. Prototypes allow changes to be made more quickly and with more certainty than using 3D CAD exclusively.
Rapid Tooling â€“ 3D printing enables designers to make production quality parts without committing the time and cost to production molds. Rapid prototype tools can be used to make part quantities ranging from one to several if needed for a short run.
To learn more go here.