3D Printing is now a household word, here is an explaination why..

What kind of 3D printing do I need?

The adoption of 3D printing has grabbed the world, the current market is worth over £2billion, and rising, it is said that in 5 years it will be at least 10 times what it is now. So way now? Because of the ease of use, the exponential growth of CAD and the real increase in computer power. CAD programs have never been cheaper in relative terms. 3D models have never been made so fast and cost effectively. Everybody wants to see a design before tooling is made, and that is just one small part of it’s portfolio of uses.

Currently 3D printing materials are used to produce prototypes ranging from resins, polymers and plasters and there are many new ones to come in the near future. The use of your prototype will determine which 3D printing material is best for our project. Key factors that influence the choice of prototype material are lifespan, complexity of geometry and the durability of the model.

A simple summary of the prototyping materials that we offer here at 3D Creation Lab are shown below:

White detailed material - Acrylic based photopolymer, highly detailed, best for smaller objects, medium strength, fairly durable, low melting point (50 degrees C), superior surface finish to all other rapid prototyping technologies due to a layer size of only 0.016mm. (Objet)

Durable material – ABS plastic, strong, best for larger models, low detail level, rigid, low quality surface finish, medium melting point (127 degrees C), layer size of 0.25mm (stratasys)

Multi-colour material – Powder based material, high resolution, rigid, brittle, low strength, surface finish has a sand effect to it,The effective melting point is determined by the infiltrant used. layer size 0.100 Z corporation machines, now called 3D systems.

Objet Connex- uv cured polymers with a unique ability to have 2 materials printed simultaneously giving you hundreds of options. 0.016 to 0.028mm layers.

Projet HD3000plus, a machine with 3 different settings for model resolution, the best resolution being XHD, eXtreme High Resolution favoured by professional model makers as masters for casting minature Trains, Planes and Cars. 0.016 layers in sharp EX200 plastic, that will burn out for jewellery.

Many designers and companies use prototypes and models for the purpose of product and functionality testing of new designs they can also be used to obtain customer feedback for new products. The data collected from these tests is then used to change the prototype models and improve the product or design.

3D printed prototypes are a crucial tool for rapidly making cost efficient design modifications before a product goes to manufacturing where these changes will be extremely costly. The time and cost savings using rapid prototype models can be as much as two thirds.

3D Rapid prototyping advancements allow for faster and lower cost prototypes and model fabrication by eliminating manpower and expensive tooling which allow companies and inventors to bring there products and designs to market faster than the competition.

The question is does your company need an unfair advantage in today’s current economic climate? I am guessing the answer is yes!

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