LASER SINTERING (LS)
Thermoplastics and composite materials in powder form that are sintered together using a CO2 heat laser. Most LS materials are nylon 12 or nylon 11-based. Additives such as glass beads, mineral or carbon fibers, and flame retardant agents are commonly blended in for enhanced mechanical, thermal, or operational properties. LS materials can be rigid or flexible plastics or composites, rubber-like elastomers, or even wax-like for burn-out patterns.
Photopolymer resins that are cured (solidified) by a UV laser. Most SL materials are epoxy or acrylate-based, some with nanoparticle filler for enhanced mechanical or thermal properties. SL materials can range from rigid to moderately flexible, and come in white, clear, black, and red or amber-hued colors. SL material can also be built in a skinned skeleton style for material savings or pattern burn-out purposes.
Material is deposited layer-upon-layer to "grow" 3D Parts. Some processes jet droplets of liquid photopolymer resins and cure (solidify) cross-sections with UV light, while others extrude lines of molten thermoplastics to "draw" parts in cross-sections. Jetted photopolymers can produce parts in a variety of durometers and colors, even within the same build in some cases. The extrusion processes can produce parts in a variety of plastics with different colors and mechanical properties, though not in the same build.
CASTING / MOLDING
Polyurethane materials can be color matched and textured, and can range in rigidity from soft and rubber-like qualities to hard and rigid. Secondary fillers can be added to modify the mechanical performance and/or thermal tolerance when necessary. Materials associated with other casting methods include ferrous and non-ferrous metals, alloys, and silicone. For mid to high-volume production injection molding can be used and a wide variety of plastics are available including ABS, PC, PC/ABS, PP, and other high-performance plastics.
Parts are created by subtracting material from billet stock. The majority of materials are plastic or metal based. They can range from rigid to moderately flexible, and may some may have fillers to add specific material properties. Popular material choices include ABS, PC/ABS, PEEK, Aluminum, and Stainless Steel. Full material choices can be made available to you through contacting your project manager.