3D Prototyping services
"Use 3D prototyping services to streamline your business"
3D printing is now considered by many the tool to quickly make one-off prototypes, the technology is more accessible and more affordable than traditional methods. it is beginning to redefine the way we think about manufacturing almost anything - and the way we run our businesses. If you're looking to buy your own 3d printer we also have a supply a large range.
3D prototyping is also referred to as layered manufacturing, solid free-form manufacturing and computer automated manufacturing. By using 3D prototyping to create scale models, it is easy to visualise what a part would look like and how it would work. Additionally, Rapid 3D prototyping models can be used for testing. Although in some cases Rapid prototyping models might be used as the final part, often the material is neither accurate or strong enough to be long-lasting. However, Rapid prototyping models are often used to create male models for tooling, including investment casts and rubber moulds. Using suitable Rapid prototyping material allows intricate shapes to be made, including parts within parts.
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What 3D prototyping processes can we offer you?
Fused Deposit Modelling
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
MultiJet Printing (MJP)
Colour InkJet Printing (CJP)
Fused Deposit Modelling:
(FDM) is a process where the plastic filament is heated and then squeezed through a nozzle to make precise layers which are placed on top of one another to create a 3D model. FDM can use a range of plastic materials to ensure the right strength and temperature properties are available. These include PLA, ABS, polyamides, polystyrene, polycarbonate, lignin and many others.
PLA plastic is great for prototyping lost wax (investment) castings. The manufacturing time is reduced because accurate models are created in one process using the tree assembly, eliminating the need to create individual art moulds. This means your product could be on the market fast with reduced production costs. PLA is smooth and rigid, making it perfect for prototype components and small parts that must be inflexible.
ABS plastic is flexible and strong, producing working prototypes that are dimensionally accurate and durable
Maximum dimensions available: 508mm x 508mm x 457mm.
"No matter how big or small your job might be we are still interested to take a look"
Stereolithography (SLA) is a Rapid prototyping process that uses a UV laser and a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer resin to form parts layer by layer. The SLA process is great for building master patterns, trade show models and concept models.
Maximum dimensions available: 635mm x 635mm x 533mm.
Selective Laser Sintering:
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a Rapid prototyping process that uses a powerful laser to bind small particles of powder together to create parts layer by layer. The SLS process is highly suitable for small-scale manufacturing and testing part functionality.
SLS creates long-wearing practical parts with a variety of uses. SLS is ideal for making living hinges and snap fits.
Maximum dimension available: 711mm x 482mm x 482mm.
MultiJet Printing (MJP) is an innovative Rapid prototyping process using photopolymer materials and UV bulbs. It provides a fast turnaround for fully cured parts that are smooth and highly detailed.
MultiJet Printing - ProJet® machines completely cure each layer of extremely fine UV curable acrylic plastics and support materials. The support material is easily disconnected from the part by a washing and melting process. No extra finishing treatments are required.
Completed MJP parts are drilled, machined, chrome-plated, used for direct casting patterns and readily absorb paint.
CNC milling involves subtractive modelling using CNC machines which remove material to create a 3D part. CNC milling can be used for either end part manufacturing or prototyping. Items produced using this process can be made from most types of material, meaning the parts are suitable for real-life applications such as testing and product validations. CNC milling is more appropriate for the final stages of design as manufacturing could turn out very costly.
The fabrication process involves connecting raw materials together to create a model or part. This process suits working prototypes or end products. Fabrication is best suited to the final design stages as production is definitely costly and take time.
So you've had a look at our 3D Prototyping services are you ready to get a quote?
"We recently designed some new components for a mower. Production parts are sourced from a third party and require the development of expensive tooling and long lead times before samples are available. We needed to verify some designs that appeared to work when manipulated on a CAD model and 3D printing offered the ideal means. We discussed the various processes and materials offered by 3Design who produced the first prototypes in a day or so. There were issues but we quickly developed an understanding of them by being able to physically handle and modify the parts. As a result, we were able to order the actual components with confidence"
Using 3Design to prototype the components contributed significantly towards achieving delivery dates and I’m sure we will be using their services again in future.
Research & Development Manager