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Archive for September, 2014

A Material for Both Your Prototype and Production Needs.

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by The Technology House

When one needs a material to build durable concept & show models, prototypes, tooling & fixtures, and low-volume production parts, then the resilient and high-performance Fused Deposition Material (FDM) material, ULTEM , is a good candidate.

The ULTEM material allows one to work more iteratively, test more thoroughly, and move confidently and efficiently from prototype to production.

ULTEM is a flame retardant high performance thermoplastic material. This FDM material is ideal for functional and end-use parts that require high strength-to-weight ratio and its FST (flame, smoke, and toxicity) rating. ULTEM widely used in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries.

ULTEM Manufacturing Properties

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How Can You Get Production-like Prototypes Faster?

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by The Technology House

Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D printing process most well known for creating dimensionally and visually accurate prototypes. But SLA’s can be used in injection molding to fabricate production parts.

Below is an image of a SLA mold that is used in injection molding. This strain relief was overmolded onto the cable.  We call this a “SLAM” (SLA Molding) Tool.

SLA Mold with SLAM tool

Rather than building an insert tool out of aluminum, or steel, we fabricate the tool in a high heat SLA.  The SLA tool can be ready to mold parts in as little as 1-2 business days. Materials ranging from rubber, to ABS, and to Glass-Filled Nylon can be injected into this tool.  This process is ideal for simple designed parts in quantities ranging from 1-25.

SLA Mold

A SLAM Tool allows you to better satisfy your prototype and production needs in a more time and cost effective manner.

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How Direct Metal Laser Sintering Can Help Solve Your Problems

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by The Technology House

When parts need to be fabricated from metal, then Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is the best 3D printing/direct digital manufacturing practice. Most 3D printing/direct digital manufacturing processes produce parts in either plastic or rubber, but DMLS is a manufacturing process that can build metal parts in materials ranging from aluminum, cobalt chrome, steel, nickel alloy, and titanium.

DMLS can be a good alternative to traditional CNC machining, but how do you know when is the correct time to use it?

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) example

Fixture and Tooling Cost
Traditional machining processes may require fixtures or tooling.  DMLS does not require any fixture or tooling, which will help reduce your total project cost.

Order Quantity
DMLS is ideal for short run/low-volume parts.  This is because parts can be built together on the same build.

Part Detail
Parts with unique surfaces or features can be easier to produce in DMLS rather than traditional machining or casting.  This is because material is sintered layer by layer.

Lead Time
Lead times for machined parts can range from 2-4 weeks for prototype parts, to 8-10 weeks for production parts.  DMLS can deliver parts as quickly as 1-2 weeks.

The DMLS process is used heavily in the following industries:
-Medical and Dental Instruments

Golf ball created using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)

On your next project that requires durable, accurate metal parts with fine detail, then consider DMLS.  Visit our material page to see what material will work best for your project.