Prototype manufacturing processes evolve at breakneck speed. In recent years, progress has been rapid and increasingly effective. Its main uses are rapid prototyping or short series.
Of the existing 3D technologies, these are the main ones:
FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling):
Also known as additive manufacturing technique by extrusion of material, it uses polymers as raw material (filament). The filament is usually heated to a molten state and then extruded through the nozzle of the machine (3D printer)
Using previously extruded filaments, flux deposition modeling uses a nozzle to deposit molten material onto a support structure, layer by layer.
Various materials are used that are commonly used also in injection (ABS, ASA, PC, PS, PETG, TPU, PA), also highly engineered materials such as (PEEK, ULTEM, PSU, PA 6.6) and even materials with loads (fiber carbon, fiberglass ...) as well as PLA (polylactic acid), is the most popular: a bioplastic from different agricultural surpluses, which progresses every day in its development, given its great performance and sustainability.
-Use of the same injection materials.
-Good physical properties and functionality of the materials.
-Possibility of making large pieces without deformation.
-Great variety of materials and lower cost.
-Smooth finish, but in some cases uneven, due to differences between surfaces with and without supports.
-Finishing that requires post-processing in many cases.
This process uses photopolymeric liquid resins that solidify when exposed to light emitted by an ultraviolet laser. In this way, superimposed layers of solid resin are created that form the object.
There are some variants, such as DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology, which instead of laser uses a high definition LCD screen to project each layer.
Photosensitive resins with different parameters of fluidity, hardness, elongation, impact, traction are used, looking for the similarity to the parameters of common materials.
In general, it is used for sectors such as jewelry or dental, given its great benefits in terms of quality and maximum detail of the pieces. Its appearance is smooth, the layers are barely visible and its appearance is similar to that of an injection piece.
- Superb aesthetic quality.
- Great capacity for detail.
- Good thermal properties
- Smooth surface of the pieces and smooth finish to the touch.
- High cost of materials
- Sensitivity to prolonged exposure to UV light
- Poor chemical and mechanical properties.
- The finish requires post-processing as it has support structures.
- Very low productivity.
SLS (Selective Laser Sintering):
This process uses thermoplastic materials for the manufacture of prototypes with good mechanical and functional properties that are sometimes used as final parts. It uses a high-power laser to melt plastic particles into powder layer by layer. The possibility of using composite materials with fiber (glass, carbon) and metals allows to expand its range of applications.
This technology does not need support structures, since the powder acts in its place, and the printing surface can be used by stacking the pieces on top of each other, so the productivity is also higher.
- Freedom of design
- No need to use support structures
- Higher productivity.
- Great mechanical, physical, chemical and thermal properties.
- High cost of materials
- Rough surface finish.
- Waste of material for each impression, which increases the cost.
- Possible deformations in large or very large pieces.
Normally, FDM printing is used for medium and large pieces, without requiring great aesthetic, physical or mechanical properties; SLA for small parts with great detail; and SLS for parts with complicated geometries or that require very demanding physical, mechanical or stress properties, taking aesthetics into the background.
Remember, you can present your case to us to find the option that best suits your needs, be it design, 3D printing, prototyping or series manufacturing.
Environment and bioplastics
Within our commitment to the environment, the facilities are fully adapted to work with bioplastics and are currently used in some projects, both injection and 3D printing.
Natural polymers from agricultural residues, cellulose, potato, corn or soy starch, which are 100% degradable by the environment and just as resistant and versatile. In addition, they can also be modified according to consumer needs (temperature, impact, elongation, traction, etc. ...)
And it is that customers are increasingly interested in producing with bioplastics, which are biodegradable and come from renewable sources, which means helping to reduce polluting plastic waste. Currently they are already used in sectors such as agriculture, textile industry, medicine and, above all, in the packaging market.
Its demand is growing both in Europe and in the United States for ecological and sustainability reasons, and Caviti, as a company committed to the environment, is not indifferent to this.