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Archive for August, 2014

5 Things You Need to Know About Cast Urethane

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by The Technology House

Cast urethane, also known as polyurethane, is one of the most versatile processes to fabricate plastic and rubber parts. Cast urethane/polyurethane parts can be used in a variety of industries and applications. But how do you know if cast urethane is the best process for your product? Below are the 5 major benefits to using cast urethane:

Piece Price
Cast urethane parts are more cost effective in piece price than additive manufacturing when larger amounts of prototypes are needed. Additive manufacturing may require multiple builds to fabricate a larger amount of prototypes, which will increase the price. Whereas, the cast urethane process can continuously mold parts.

Tooling Cost
Silicone molds are used to fabricate cast urethane pieces. The cost for silicone molds is typically far less expensive than aluminum or steel tools used in injection molding. Molds to produce urethane parts may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, where as injection mold tooling can range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Tooling Lead Time
The tooling leadtime for cast urethanes is shorter than traditional injection molding. The lead time for an injection mold tool can range from 4-8 weeks, but silicone molds used in cast urethane can be ready in 1-2 weeks.

cast urethane

Material Offerings
There is a wide range of materials available. Durometers range from 30A-90D. MR, UL, FDA, and clear materials are also available.

Part Finish
The strength and surface finish of cast urethanes is very comparable to injection molded pieces. Secondary applications can be done to parts, such as painting.

Cast Urethane parts

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3D Printing History

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by The Technology House

This month, our company turns 18. Throughout this time, we have seen the 3D printing industry jump leaps and bounds. We thought that this would be a good time to highlight some of the major advancements in the industry’s 30 year existence.

-The first 3D Printer was created in 1984 by 3D Systems. The initial process was known as stereolithography (SLA). This process uses UV Lasers to cure photopolymer resins layer by layer.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was developed and patented at the University of Texas at Austin. SLS is an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser to sinter powdered material into a solid structure. The laser sintering technique has also expanded to include metal. This process is known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

-In 1990, Strayasys developed the plastic extrusion technology Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).  FDM is an additive manufacturing process where plastic filament is extruded from a coil of material that builds parts layer by layer.

-As of 2012, the market for 3D printers and services was worth $2.2 billion worldwide.

These are some the major processes that helped build the foundation for the 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Since this time, machines and materials have expanded beyond hard plastics to include rubber and metal. Machines and materials are more readily available. Industries that utilize 3D printing are as far reaching as ever which include architecture, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military & defense, medical, biotechnology, fashion, jewelry, food, consumer goods, and many others.

Don’t Play Games With Your 3D Printing Cost

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by The Technology House

One of the quickest ways to reduce prototype cost is to hollow the part. This is because less material is now needed to fabricate the part. Rather than running a part completely solid, it can be hollowed with a thick enough wall thickness to have the part still be durable.

In 3D printing processes that use a liquid photopolymer, such as SLA, a drain hole must be added to the hollowed part. This is so that any resin on the inside can drain out of the part. A plug can be glued into the drain hole once the part is fabricated in order to give the surface a clean look. If the resin is trapped inside, then it will harden when cured. Thus, the part will not save any material.

Solid 3D Model
This file is solid, and has a cubic volume of 19.957.

Hollow 3D Model

This part is hollowed with .080″ wall thickness, and has a cubic volume of 9.934.  Since it is hollowed, it is saving 10.02 cubic inches of material.

In 3D printing processes that fabricate parts with extruded material, such as FDM, the parts can be either made solid or sparse.  Fabricating a part with a sparse interior will help reduce the amount of material needed.   For example, if we took this same arcade and applied a sparse interior structure in the FDM process, then it would require  11.03 cubic inches of material. Thus saving, 5.92 cubic inches of material.

If you have any unanswered questions, please feel free to contact us.

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