Understanding the Process for 3D Printing

When it comes to utilizing 3d printing for rapid prototyping, you are rewarded with parts for new medical devices as well as other products. This often means design risk reduction.

3D Prototype Designs Deliver Injection Molded Parts and Devices

Parts for products will range from instruments that are necessary for surgery - to glucose monitors. These are often produced using injection molding and CNC machining, depending on the parts.     

Engineers or product designers will benefit by integrating 3d printing and injection molding. This needs to be done during post-launching phases for the product.    

This prototype development process provides us with hands-on physical products. Experts who are capable of getting the product to look and feel exactly the way you want can then review these. It is one of the best ways to get detailed feedback about the product to secure your product’s success.    

Bringing a design from idea to reality by using 3D printing, low volume injection molding, and machining simply speeds the process of validation and verification for the FDA 510(k) premarket submission.   

3D printing has proven intensely valuable for complex designs and multipart assemblies. Providing accurate testing (including tests that digital analysis may miss) make it especially valuable for early evaluation of new parts.  

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Understand Polyjet 3D Printing Process and Materials

The Polyjet 3D printing process requires jetting multiple layers of a curable liquid polymer directly onto a build tray.

The 3D build preparation software automatically performs the calculations that deliver correct placement of the polymers and support materials from your 3D CAD file.  

The printer will jet and instantly UV-cures tiny droplets of liquid polymer. This means that very fine layers are accumulating on the build tray creating one or several extremely precise 3D parts or models.

Sometimes overhangs and complex shapes will mandate more support material. This will clean internal voids and other finer details that can be missed, or damaged by water-jetting. This approach delivers easily removed material simply by applying water by hand, or by using a solution-bath. This delivers instant handling and use capacity immediately with no curing required.

Extraordinary detail, precision and surface smoothness are easily accomplished. Other benefits of this 3D printing technology include: 

  • The creation of detailed,  smoothly produced 3D printed parts that deliver final-product aesthetics
  • The achievement of extremely complex shapes, intricate details and delicate features of parts
  • Production of accurate molds, fixtures, jigs and other manufacturing tools

3D Printing Materials for Polyet Printing

Digital ABS

All of these materials are capable of creating realistic, precise prototypes and tools that are extremely tough and heat resistant. These materials are used to simulate the standard ABS plastics.  This is perfect for creating functional prototypes including but not limited to manufacturing tools, casings, snap-fit parts for high or low temperature use, mobile phone casings, electrical parts, engine parts and covers - and are completely appropriate for all simulated parts requiring shock absorption and high-impact resistance.

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Advantages of 3D Printed Parts in the Injection Molding Process

The remarkable breakthroughs offered by 3D printing have made a major impact on the injection molding process and industry. Also called "additive manufacturing", 3D printing produces parts through a material layering process.

Often used to prototype a product, this process can act as a final design proving - as well as a means to assess the final design. This means providing a simple method for verifying the testing, fit and functionality of parts before being injection molded.

Injection Molding Advances Use of 3D Printed Parts

The biggest advantage continues to be the ease this process allows for the physical testing of a design, which results in reducing your product’s time to market. Parts that have thin walls and complex geometries - parts that are durable or even those providing a bridge-part function can all be 3D printed.

Mass production using 3D printing does include its challenges. Even though this additive manufacturing process can quickly produce sample parts at very low cost - the selection of printed plastics remains limited as well as the difference in surface finish and each part would have to be finished individually increasing labor costs.

Moving Your 3D Printed Parts into Major Production

When designers create a part for additive manufacturing with the intent to produce the product through the injection molding process a few things should be considered. First, design draft into the part, so when it comes time for injection molding you won’t have to return to the CAD file and modify the design.

Also apply other modifications to include features specifically needed to reduce stress concentrations that apply both to 3D printing and injection molding. Some of these features include sharp corners and radii and ensure smooth changes from thin walls to thicker walls this will reduce the potential of warping for the injection molded part.

When creating a part design for 3D printing, it is important that it is representative of the injection molding process.  For instance, it is possible for a designer to create a 3D part that is actually impossible to injection mold.  For this reason, the unique needs and limitations of injection mold tooling need to be considered when designing a 3D print part.

These changes are needed for smooth transitions and will prevent shifting to injection molding from becoming overwhelming.

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3D Printing Teaches Another Old Dog Some New Tricks

Article Published on September 10, 2014 by 3D Printing, Industry News and Written by Scott J Grunewald.

Employee-owned injection molder, Crescent Industries, has announced the addition of their new 3D printing services to enhance their already comprehensive injection molding production, tooling and clean room assembly services.

The firm’s new Stratasys Objet Eden 500V16 3D printer was brought in to not only provide basic 3D printing services, but to enhance their injection molding services by offering design and prototype review, quality inspection, component fixtures and end of arm tooling. The consequent rapid prototyping services allow their customers to catch design flaws in the early stages of production, eliminate costly delays with the early correction of production or design flaws, and create custom part installation tools and guides designed and manufactured right alongside production parts and components.

Crescent’s new 3D printing services also offer customers the ability to produce limited production runs of products or samples. Materials available range from basic ABS to the Vero family of rigid opaque materials, flexible rubber materials, high temperature materials to test hot air and hot water flow and even materials optimized for dental and medical applications.

Not only has Crescent gained a new source of revenue by adding 3D printing to its offerings, but it’s created tremendous added value to its already existing line of services. This is becoming a familiar story. Many traditional manufacturing companies have kept 3D printing at arms length, seeing it as either an overhyped fad or as a competing service that would draw away customers.

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