By applying successive layers of plastic, liquid, powder or sheet material it is possible to fabricate complex parts for low volume prototype production.
Advances in 3D modelling software have made it possible to directly transmit Computer Aided Design (CAD) data to the additive manufacturing machine. This enhances the efficiency of the process, reducing the associated costs and time involved in manufacturing prototypes.
There are three main options when it comes to Additive Manufacturing:
- SLA (Stereolithography) models are the ideal solution for exhibition stands, investor pitches and focus groups. A cost effective option, with a smooth finish, fine detail and a quick turnaround time, SLA is ideal for visual prototypes.
- SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) models can be used in every stage of the development cycle, including functional tests, pre-production models and end use parts. If you are expecting to make a number of revisions to your design, SLS offers the flexible manufacturing option you require.
- FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) heats and extrudes production grade thermoplastics to create strong and durable parts for low volume production and functional model parts. If you need accuracy and repeatability, FDM could be the ideal rapid manufacturing process.
Advantages of Additive Manufacturing
When the limitations of CNC machine cutters prevent replication of an exact design, additive manufacturing really comes into its own. Each layer is added with precision to exactly match the intended design and this also helps to minimise waste.
Additive manufacturing removes the need for complex and costly processes in product development. In addition to transforming concepts into reality, the process is also valuable in producing high quality replacement parts at speed.
How Can We Help You?
We have a detailed understanding of all additive manufacturing processes. Use our expertise and attention to detail at the finishing stage to build complex 3D models, functioning parts, casting patterns and tooling inserts directly from your CAD data. We can further enhance the appearance of the model by offering a range of hand finishing techniques.