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As mentioned earlier, the choice of material determines the most suitable fabrication method for producing an item. The three main material categories include polymers, resins and metal. Sculpteo provides the following digital fabrication services to produce objects from:
Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in digital fabrication. Some examples of plastics used in additive fabrication are Nylon PA12, Jet Fusion PP and PLA. Here are some examples of three additive methods used to print plastic.
FDM 3D printers create components using one or two print heads. First, the material is melted and then extruded through a nozzle layer after layer onto a build platform to create a functional end-product.
This method is most suitable for prototyping, modelling and low-volume manufacturing applications.
This method was invented and developed by the company Hewlett-Packard (HP). It uses a multi-agent production process to print parts additively according to a CAD model.
MJF is ideal for applications requiring high strength capacity.
Selective laser sintering uses a laser to melt plastic powders on a preheated powder bed to create components through sintering. It creates a solid object layer after layer, according to a 3D model.
The production method is ideal for producing parts with consistent mechanical properties. It also offers a high degree of design freedom and complexity, making it suitable for rapidly prototyping functional polymers.
Resins refer to liquid photopolymers used in additive fabrication. Some examples of polymer materials are Rigid Polyurethane, Ultracur3D® EPD 1086 and Verowhite. There are many ways to print components from resin, such as:
This resin fabrication method uses UV light from LEDs to shine through an LCD screen and cure a particular pixel display at a time. Liquid polymers in the material container slowly rise out of the tank onto the build platform, where they are cured layer after layer as the component forms.
LCD is ideal for the mass production of custom items. It is a cost-effective resin fabrication technique for producing large functional parts with detailed shapes. Experts in the aerospace and medical industries would also benefit from its lightweight properties.
Stereolithography involves curing photo-sensitive polymers on a build plate using a UV light. The UV rays outline and cure a cross-section of the component model repeatedly until the final object is formed.
SLA may be best for creating concept models, cosmetic prototypes and complex parts with intricate geometries.
Polyjet technologies also use UV light to cure photopolymers on a build tray. First, the resin is melted and then an inkjet printhead jets layers of the liquid resin on the platform according to the model blueprint. Next, the UV light passes over the print to solidify it.
The approach is known for its great surface finish, which allows experts to create detailed and smooth prototypes. It can be ideal for producing healthcare products like prosthetics, implants and mobility aids.
Metal manufacturing industries can use digital fabrication to produce parts. Common metals used in additive fabrication include Inconel, Stainless Steel and Titanium. Experts can fabricate metallic parts using the following processes:
In binder jetting, 3D printers use a liquid adhesive agent to bind thin layers of metallic powders over each other. It uses a print head that moves horizontally along the X and Y axes when building custom end-use components.
Engineers may use binder jetting technologies to design and produce high-value items with complex geometries. It can be perfect for producing colour-accurate prototypes, decorative items and low-cost metallic products.
The Direct Metal Laser Sintering process creates objects by melting and fusing metallic powder using a highly intensive laser beam. It is an accurate production method since the laser can melt thin material layers of up to 20 or 40 μm in diameter.
The technique enables the manufacturing of items with complex geometries. It is also compatible with many metals and alloys; for example, bronze, steel, stainless-steel 316L and titanium.
Wax casting or investment casting makes objects by pouring and curing molten metallic powders on a predesigned mould. The production approach can create high-value final products with accurate geometries and precise tolerances.
It is suitable for fabricating art, jewellery, dental items and tooling parts in low volumes.
Additive fabrication provides significant versatility in industrialisation. Businesses can explore its numerous material and technology options to streamline production workflows. It also provides an economically feasible avenue for innovative product development.
Sculpteo can assist companies in producing functional prototypes and final products with short lead times. On our website, clients can order 3D prints for their projects.
The first step involves uploading your 3D model and tweaking it to match the material and finishes you prefer. After submitting the file, the site generates a quote instantly. Upon confirmation, our team of experts proceeds to manufacture the parts in our ISO-certified factory.
We can print custom, high-quality products with complex geometries using plastic, polymers and metal. Our team at Sculpteo Studio can also assist you with designing your 3D file. Feel free to consult with us at your convenience.
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