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Archive for January, 2016

3 Things about 3D Printing Bureaus You Should Know

Posted on: January 28th, 2016 by The Technology House

When you need to 3D print parts, you can either invest and utilize your own equipment, or order parts through a 3D printing bureau.  But, how do you know when it is best to leverage the 3D printing processes of a service provider compared to in-house capabilities?  Below are the top 3 reasons why customers have utilized a service bureau, like us.

3D Laser Printing

1.Expert Advice
Customers often come to us and say something like “We want the part to do this, but do not know what material or process will work best.” 3D Printing Service Bureaus have experienced project managers that can walk you through different processes and materials based on what you need for your design and project. They can offer the best options to get your part for your deadline whether it’s for a sales demo, marketing presentation or testing.

2. Less In-house Overhead
The costs involved with having your own machine can add up quickly. In addition to the cost of the equipment, there are also the costs of training/hiring employees, software upgrades, machine maintenance, and material & machine part purchases.  It may take years for a company to break even on their own machines.  This is why a lot of customers come to us.  They can simply send us the files to print to minimize risk and compensate for internal processes that don not exist.

3D Laser Printing Machines

3. Access to Advanced Materials and Processes
We have seen over the past few years that customers need prototypes to act as close as possible to the production piece.  This not only involves advanced materials, but also secondary processes like finish and paint.  Having both materials and processes under one roof allows one to efficiently stream line their timeline as well as utilize a “one stop shop” vendor.

But don’t take our word for it.  If you want to learn more about how a 3D Printing Service Bureau can help you, then feel free to contact us. Allow us to understand your concept and needs and champion it into actual parts by determining which of our processes will bring them to life in the most efficient way possible.

Download 3D Printing Handbook

3 Steps To Make Your Tooling Project a Success

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by The Technology House

Moving your design from the prototype phase to production does not have to be an uphill battle.  There are some easy steps you can take to keep your product moving efficiently to production.

1.Create a Rapid Prototype Design First
No designer has the “perfect tough” in that the design is correct the first time.  Even after design reviews, one does not know how the product will actually work until there is a physical model.  Utilize the materials and processes in both 3D printing and cast urethane to ensure that fit, function, and the look & feel is correct.

Rapid Prototype Design

The part on the left was 3D printed to test fit and function. This helped determine the part and tool design for the production piece on the right.

2.Design for Manufacturability (DFM)Analysis
Investing in a design for manufacturability (DFM) analysis can discover potential problems.  The DFM will make sure that the part design and manufacturability is correct for injection molding.  Correcting any potential problems before the tool is cut can save you tool modifications that were more than likely not accounted for in the initial budget.  In addition, the DFM can keep your product on track to be delivered to your customer.

Screen Capture of Rapid Prototype CAD Design

3.Fully Review Initial Samples
Now that your tooling is complete, it is now time to review your initial samples (often referred to as T1 samples).  But just because your initial prototypes worked, does not mean you can just glance at the tooling samples.  Make sure that the samples measure within tolerance, have no cosmetic defects, and fit & function properly.

Request a Quote for your Additive Manufacturing Project

4 Simple Tips for Problem-Free Injection Molding

Posted on: January 12th, 2016 by The Technology House

Tooling and Molds for Injection Molding

When designing a part to be injection molded, you do not need to be an expert. Most molding issues we encounter could have been avoided by following four general guidelines.

1.Wall Thickness Consistency
One of the most basic design parameters is to keep the wall thickness consistent. Parts with a uniform wall thickness will not warp, will fill in properly, and minimize shrink variability. But how much wall thickness is typically allowed? Ideally, there should be no variation, but wall thickness variations should not exceed 10% in materials that have a high shrinkage.

2.Proper Gate Location
A part must have a gate, which is the opening that allows the plastic to be injected into the mold. Gates that are most effective are ones where they enter the thickest part of the cavity, and then flow to the narrower areas. Since the gate will be slightly visible on the part, it is best to have it on a non-cosmetic surface.

3.Radius Corners
If there is one thing that plastic does not like, it is sharp corners. Sharp corners are stress risers that can cause part failure. The molten plastic needs to be able to navigate around corners with ease. Corners with a radius will allow the plastic to flow more easily. In contrast, corners with sharp corners will result in molded-in stress.

4.Draft
Draft is when the side walls in the mold are tapered in the same direction that the mold opens. Draft facilitates the removal of the part from the mold.  It is important to note that different degrees of draft are required based off part geometry and surface texture. A tool should use at least 1 degree of draft for all vertical surfaces (2 degrees works very well for most parts).

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you with your production needs, or have any questions, feel free to contact one of our project managers through the link below.

Request a Quote for your Additive Manufacturing Project