R&D Technologies In-House Capabilities
If you are ready to move forward with your 3D part file, you can get an instant part quote and our engineers will respond quickly to your part request, or you can send your files to firstname.lastname@example.org for a more hands-on approach.
If you would like to browse our in-house printing technologies, continue reading for more information about build volume, materials and part tolerances.
FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Materials: We offer all of the Stratasys FDM materials across their entire lineup. These are industrial grade thermoplastics meant to take a beating and hold up under high loads, heats, or stresses. You can read more detailed specs on any of the materials here.
Tolerances: These machines typically hold +/- 0.005" or +/- 0.0015" per inch in the x/y direction. Layer heights will be built in multiples of 0.010" for most materials, however some materials can be run at a 0.005", 0.007", 0.013" or 0.020" layer height as well.
Build Volume (LxWxH): We can build up to a 36" x 24" x 36" part, with the second largest volume being at 16" x 14" x 16", and the max size for TPU and Diran parts at 14" x 10" x 14".
- Due to the layering process, weaknesses can occur along the layer lines on thin features, and fine details are harder to build.
- Slight curvature or draft angles on the top and bottom surfaces tend to get a 'stepping' effect since the layers are thicker than some other processes.
- Solid blocks can be built with a honeycomb interior to save time, material, and weight as well as cost.
- Since these are regular plastics, they can typically be sanded, painted, glued, and epoxied.
- For threads, it is typically recommended to either tap pre-printed holes in the part, or accommodate for heat set inserts.
Polyjet (Liquid Photopolymer)
Materials: Polyjet materials are acrylic based, and thus not usually meant for end use parts due to low heat tolerances and a somewhat brittle nature. However, they have a great surface finish with fine detail, and are great for realistic prototyping. By mixing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, White, and Transparent, we can offer over 500,000 different colors, and can PANTONE match colors on your parts. To make your parts even more realistic, we can apply textures including labels and wraps, logos, photos, etc for the perfect 'looks like' model for design review, marketing, or trade shows. We can also mix rubber-like materials to mimic grips and buttons from shore 27A up to a 95A. For more info on the specs of Polyjet materials, you can read about them here.
Tolerances: For the x/y, rigid materials will hold +/- 100µ for parts below 100mm (~4"), and +/- 200µ or +/-0.06% of part length, whichever is greater. The layer heights will typically be built in intervals of 30µ, however some single materials can be built at 16µ if required.
Build Volume (LxWxH): We can build parts up to 19.3" x 15.35" x 7.9" (490mm x 390mm x 200mm) for all materials.
- Polyjet can build fine details including threads, pins, and lettering.
- The average heat deflection is 130°F, which means parts will warp and bend at relatively low heats.
- Acrylic is somewhat brittle, and can crack if dropped on hard surfaces or care is not taken to tap holes correctly.
- The rubber materials won't perform the same as an end-use silicone with less rebound, and microtears after repeated flexing.
- Clear parts will typically come out frosted, and will need to be buffed to get a full see-through effect. Buffed clear parts will be clearest in the Z direction as the layers tend to distort light when looking through the sides of a part.
Solidscape (Wax Deposition)
Materials: The Solidscape technology prints in a high resolution, complete burnout wax that doesn't leave any ash in casting cavities. It is mainly used for lost wax casting, with very high detail and surface finish qualities.
Tolerances: +/- 0.0010"/inch along each axis. 5000 x 5000 dpi in x/y, 8000 dpi in z.
Build Volume (LxWxH): 6" x 6" x 4" (152mm x 152mm x 101mm)
- Wax prints can take a very long time to build, especially depending on the layer height chosen.
- Finding the right resolution for the features and right quantities to build in wax will lead to the best cost effectiveness.
- For large qtys, making a master with an extra shrinkage factor may make more sense than multiple waxes.
- Wax is very brittle, so very small unsupported features can cause problems in post processing and/or shipping.
Extra Post Processes:
R&D handles light post processing in the line of sanding, clear-coating, marine epoxy coating (for waterproofing FDM), and adding heat set inserts. For larger projects or more specific post processing techniques, we work directly with a local shop to handle your needs.
We can handle smaller projects with more mechanical designs in mind using our Solidworks CAD software. For larger, in-depth projects, or organic shapes that require a more tailored CAD software, we have external contacts we can get you in touch with to create a file. Once you have the file, we can quote and print your parts!
Additional Printing Technology Resources:
Below are the external capabilities we have access to in our partner network to get you the parts you need.
MJF (Multi Jet Fusion)/PBF (Powder Bed Fusion)
Nylon-based powder printing for finer details. May require dye to color, and a sealant to keep from the powder 'rubbing off'.
Similar to Polyjet, most materials are acrylic based, but there are some higher performance materials available. Builds a lattice support that can sometimes leave small indents or nubs in certain areas, but can be media blasted or sanded out.
For larger projects, specific colors or coatings, we have outreach to local companies that can help bring your parts to a more finished and refined product.
CAD Design & Scanning
We have outreach to various local companies for different types of scanning and CAD work. Larger projects, and more organic/sculpted parts will typically go in this direction.
DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering)
Metal parts printed by melting a fine powder with a laser in layers. Can give strong parts, but tends to be very costly, and will have a 'matte' cast finish that may require polishing for certain applications.
Typically, we will build sparse filled FDM parts that can then be placed on a Vacuum table to pull a heated sheet of plastic over for packaging mockups.
Silicone Cast Rubber
We can build molds for casting silicone parts if you want something similar to an end-use rubber or need a more specific shore value. We work with a local company that can handle these quickly with a fast turnaround time.
For low volume parts (low 100's), sometimes polyjet molds can be printed at a fraction of the cost of steel or aluminum molds.
Casting in various metals using our wax process. While we don't currently have a direct contact for larger parts, large FDM parts can be built for bigger sand casts.
While not typically in our wheelhouse being subtractive instead of additive manufacturing, we do have outreach to companies with CNC capabilities.