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Archive for January, 2015

What’s the Difference in Clear 3D Printing Finishes?

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by The Technology House

When clear prototype parts are needed, one of the most popular methods is to print the parts in a clear SLA material.  SLA is one of the most used 3D printing processes because it offers the benefits of high-quality surface finishes, part accuracy, and quick turnaround.  You can receive your clear SLA prototypes from us in a matter of days.

Clear prototypes are needed for a variety of reasons.  Some of the main reasons are to mimic the production piece, diffuse light, or show the interior of a part during the product testing.  But did you know that there are different clear finishes?  And how do you know which one is right for you?  Knowing which finish is best for you can help you save time and money as well as receiving parts that meet your expectations.

A clear finish on a SLA prototype can be applied in two different ways.

Quick Clear
The first is what we call a “Quick Clear” finish.  This involved light sanding to be done to the part, and then a clear coat is applied.  The part will be clear, but build lines will still be visible.  This is beneficial if one is cost conscious since less labor is required for this finish.  A part with a quick clear finish can be beneficial for a variety of applications such as show models, design review, process application testing.

Quick Clear Finish Sample

Supreme Clear
A “Supreme Clear” finish is similar to a Quick Clear finish, but all of the build lines are removed with a Supreme Clear finish.  The part will have more of a show quality finish, and will better mimic the production piece.  This type of finish is heavily used for trade show and sales presentation models, light diffusion testing, and design review.

Supreme Clear Finish Sample

Every day, we produce and finish parts to our customer’s precise specifications.  It is easy to get lost in the forest of part finishes, but this blog can serve as a guide for you and allow us to better understand and meet your needs.

Download 3D Printing Handbook

TTH 3D Printing Handbook

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 by The Technology House

Get Our Handbook on 3D Printing

We here at The Technology House are proud to introduce our 3D printing handbook!  This handbook was created to help you understand the major 3D printing and additive manufacturing techniques, helping you choose the correct process, and offer design tips.  Our intention with this handbook is to help you create the best product possible using our technologies and processes.

3D Printing Handbook

What’s Included?

Here’s a brief rundown of the topics and main points we cover in our free handbook:

-What is 3D Printing? Get the rundown on what makes additive manufacturing technologies unique over other forms of manufacturing and get insight into why people choose to get prototyping and other services through this process rather than through mainstream methods.

-3D Printing History. Learn about how it all began and what the first 3D printers looked like leading all the way up into today’s technology.

-3D Printing Types. What’s the difference between soft tooling and hard tooling? What’s the advantage of a urethane mold versus metal printing? We discuss the different types of printing as well as their unique applications on each of the various areas of prototyping.

-Choosing the Best Process. What application is correct for your particular situation? If you’re confused about where to start and what service to use, this chapter of our handbook will help clear up the fog and get a better concept of what work is really needed.

-3D Printing Design Tips. Have a design? Great! We’ll help make sure that it turns out exactly how you imagined when it comes time to print it.

-Developing with TTH. Learn how our operation can help simplify the additive manufacturing process for you.

Click the Link Below to Download Our Handbook!

Download 3D Printing Handbook



What’s the Difference Between Soft and Hard Tooling?

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 by The Technology House

Different molding processes require different types of tooling. It is important to utilize the correct process so that you receive properly functioning parts. The two most commonly used molding processes are urethane molding, and injection molding. A major difference between the two processes is the type of tooling used to produce parts.

The difference is that urethane molding produces parts from silicone (soft tooling), whereas injection molding produce parts from steel or aluminum (hard tooling). Below is a quick overview showing you the difference between the tooling methods. Understanding the difference will help you keep your project on time, within budget, and give you properly functioning parts.

Soft Tooling
-Silicone molds and the urethane process are used when a lower volume of parts is needed (1-100). This is because the tooling and piece price is more economical for lower quantities. On average, silicone tools usually cost in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, pending on the part geometry.

-Silicone molds can be used for prototype, bridge and production of low volumes from one part to hundreds of parts. Most silicone molds are good for about 25 shots per cavity.

-Silicone molds are typically injected with material that is manually gravity fed through a tube. Pending on the type of material, it can take anywhere between 1-24 hours to cure. Once the parts within the mold cure, the molds are manually opened, and any necessary finishing is done by hand.

Soft tooling cast urethane

Hard Tooling
-Steel/aluminum tools are used for the injection molding process for prototype or bridge, but these tools are mostly used for high volume production (100’s-100,000’s).

-Steel/aluminum tools typically range in price from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. And pending on the material and part geometry, the tool life can range from thousands to millions of parts.

-Steel/aluminum tools are injected with material from an injection mold machine. The machine injects mold into the mold with less man-power when compared to silicone molds. The curing of material will take between a few seconds to a few minutes, thus yielding more parts much quicker than silicone tools.

Hard Tooling Injection mold cast

Request a Quote for your next Soft or Hard Tooling Project