To better serve our customers, we would like to keep our audience informed on the recent developments at Harvest Tech, including information on the latest in fused deposition modeling (FDM) and our newest offers.
FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING (FDM)
ADVANCED 3D PRINTING PROCESS & MATERIALS
Fortus 900mc & 400mc Systems
Harvest Technologies recently added to its extensive in-house fleet of 3d printers an XL-sized Fortus 900mc machine, and will soon take delivery of two mid-sized Fortus 400mc machines for fuse deposition modeling production of parts, patterns, and tooling in a variety of robust thermoplastics. These high end 3d printers are un-rivaled as filament-feed additive manufacturing systems, with the 900mc’s expansive build envelope (36 x 24 x 36 in.), excellent dimensional accuracy, and fine feature detail. The advanced Fortus 900mc and 400mc systems provide a variety of digital tool-path controls that allow our operator to adjust the layer thickness, raster pattern, and fill density, enabling them to create custom build styles that are optimized for functionality and/or aesthetic needs.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the FDM technology is its strong and durable production-grade thermoplastics, including ABS-M30, PC, PC-ABS and Ultem. These materials are engineered to tolerate a variety of mechanical and environmental stresses, including impact, load bearing, moisture, heat/cold, and chemical. FDM plastics are able to serve many end-use production applications, as well as for prototype purposes, and come in a variety of colors. Additionally FDM-produced objects can be finished and post-processed for enhanced aesthetic and functional qualities, including painting, dying, coating, metal plating, helicoils and inserts.
This great all-purpose material is a specially engineered, production-grade thermoplastic that is stronger and more durable than the standard ABS material for FDM. It provides moderate flexibility for flex and snap-fit applications, and presents a cost-effective option for complex, functional part production.
When additional stiffness and heat tolerance are needed over that of ABS-M30, while still providing a measure of flexibility, PC-ABS may be the ideal material for your prototype and end-use part applications.
PC is a tough and durable thermoplastic that remains stiff under heat and is well-suited for demanding applications requiring high tensile strength and impact resistance. It is commonly used to produce form tooling, fixtures and mandrels for composite and metal shaping, as well as prototypes and end-use parts.
This high performance thermoplastic material offers an excellent combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance properties. Because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, FST rating and certifications, it is ideal for production of aircraft and automotive interior parts, form tooling, fixtures, and mandrels, and serves a wide variety of other end-use and prototype applications.
SOMOS NeXt STEREOLITHOGRAPHY (SL) RESIN
ROBUST, AESTHETIC PARTS BUILT ON LARGE PLATFORM
Also new to Harvest Technologies is the ability to build tough, functional stereolithography (a.k.a. SLA™) parts, show models, and casting patterns on a large platform (20 x 20 x 23.62 in.) in the latest generation Somos® NeXt SL plastic. In addition to its stand-out durability, it provides fine feature detail, smooth surface finishing, excellent dimensional accuracy, moisture resistance, and improved thermal properties over prior generation materials. It is ideal for snap-fits, connectors, covers, housings, bezels, dashboards, impellers, fans and other applications.
Want more details on our latest updates? Contact Harvest Technologies to learn more about our FDM & SL machinery and materials.
When creating your design for rapid prototyping, there are many things to consider. It is important to understand the many aspects that go into 3Dprinting in order to select the right material and machine to construct your part. Here are is a list of the top 10 things to consider when prototyping:
10) Sending Native CAD
Rapid prototyping (a.k.a. 3D printing) processes use .STL format files for build set up and part production. While native CAD can usually be converted to .STL format, when done outside of the native software, upon occasion, issues may arise, causing build failures or missing features. Sending your CAD in .STL format minimizes the chance for errors.
9) Multiple Shells or Unshared Edges
Good .STL files typically contain only 1 shell and should never have unshared edges. Multiple shells and unshared edges usually signal an uneven topography, meaning surfaces may be overlapping or disconnected from one another. If multiple shells and unshared edges are left in the file it may not build as intended, causing missing features or the part might build in separate pieces.
8) Verifying the Unit of Measurement
Be sure to indicate what unit of measurement your file was originally designed with. Harvest works in inches and can convert files from metric units. However noting what unit of measurement was originally used will save time and eliminate potential errors.
7) Designing for the Process
Every rapid prototyping process has its unique nuances and design limitations (tolerance, feature definition, material properties, etc.). These unique process/material characteristics should be considered when designing your prototype part so offsets, variances, and modifications can be implemented into the CAD model(s).
6) Choosing Price over Process
While pricing is always a consideration when prototyping, the primary concern should always maximizing functionality and achieving the desired objectives. Going with the lowest price point between processes may result in a prototype that does not function as desired or meet your needs.
5) Detailed Instructions
Explaining your specific prototype needs for fit, form, finish, and functionality will help a Harvest project manager assist you in choosing the best option for producing your prototype. Whether its water resistance, surface smoothness, or painted show model aesthetics, the more detailed you can be the better we can optimize our processes/post-processes accordingly.
4) Small Features/Thin walls
Each process and material have a minimum feature size. This can vary from .010″-.030″. Understanding this limitation can help you select the best options or modify the CAD model(s) for your desired result.
3) Tolerance Variance
Rapid prototyping (3D Printing) processes are primarily free-form production systems and thus they have lesser tolerance control than traditional manufacturing methods like CNC machining and injection molding. These processes are still accurate within thousands of an inch, but certain designs (i.e. interference fits/line-to-line designs) need to account for slight dimensional variance.
2) Application Consideration
Your prototype’s application should be at the forefront of decision making when choosing a process or material. It is of great benefit for you to fully explain how your prototype will be used so a Harvest project manager can provide accurate assistance. While your design may be well suited to a particular production material or process, your prototype’s application may not be well matched to certain 3D printing processes and materials.
1) Rushing the Results
Whether you need your prototype in a couple of days or a couple of weeks, special care must be given not to rush the design/CAD modeling process and make unnecessary errors. Taking the time to review your final design for potential problems and reviewing these tips could ultimately save you from a costly mistake.
For more details and information on CAD designs and rapid prototyping, contact Harvest Technologies for a professional consultation.
When deciding on the right material for a part, it is important to consider the function or use of the part before selecting a material to work with. Secondarily cast urethanes offer a wide range of physical and thermal properties that one must keep in mind when designing for your part or prototype.
Cast Urethane Properties
The durability and stiffness of the material can vary greatly depending on the design of your particular part. While some cast urethanes take on a very rigid physicality, others may reach a very flexible and elastic state. The sturdiness of the material is dependent on the chemical and curing properties of the particular urethane that you select. The cast reproduction materials that are not as durable and rigid are those that are quick to set, while those urethanes which take longer to set are sturdier. Cast urethanes are ideal materials for functional prototypes, show models, and end-use parts.
Overall, the external appearance and general feel of secondarily cast reproductions are comparable to those of molded plastics, which allow for fine detail and smooth or textured surfaces. Cast urethanes can closely mimic the aesthetics of the master patterns. These materials also may not need to be painted as they can also contain colors and textures within themselves. In addition, the tooling of secondarily cast reproductions can provide a more cost-effective method of mass quantity production. Lastly, urethane casting is highly accurate, within thousandths of an inch, which makes for highly complex or detailed designs.
One disadvantage to cast urethanes is that this process usually requires longer lead-times while following the three stages of production: master pattern productions, RTV tooling, and part casting. Typically, cast urethanes take several days up to a few weeks to be fully produced. However, the production time is dependent upon the size and complexity of the design.
Looking for help with your urethane casting? Contact Harvest Technologies for a professional consultation.
With a variety of materials used in additive manufacturing, it is sometimes difficult to identify which type to employ in your model or prototype. Let us take a closer look at some of the properties of the most popular materials used in stereolithography and when to use them.
Accura 25 is typically used for general purpose prototypes and/or parts. This material is somewhat flexible, but retains a good, sturdy shape.
Overall, Accura 25 is a reliable material for functional prototyping. With this material, a designer or engineer does not have to waste much time and effort on R&D and can quickly test a design. This resin is also great for master patterns for molding other functional parts. Popular applications of this material include, styling parts for the automotive industry, form or functional prototypes, concept and marketing models, and consumer electronics.
Somos® Nano Tool™
Somos Nano Tool is comprised of non-crystalline nanoparticles and is the optimal material for testing high-heat tolerance. Generally, Somos Nano Tool produces strong, high-temperature tolerant parts; this material also has the ability to provide exceptionally accurate detailing and surface finishing.
Somos Nano Tool is a great material for metal plating and can obtain exceptional functionality through its tough physical properties and intricate design as a prototype or part. This material has been applied to automotive components, aerospace parts, wind tunnels, rapid tooling for molding, consumer sporting goods and as connectors and electronic protective covers.
DSM Somos NeXt® resin contains a much higher impact resistance when compared to other materials used in stereolithography. This material provides high accuracy and water resistance, making it the optimal material when parts or models require extra toughness. Additionally, Somos NeXt is a great material that does not require complex finishing or post-processing.
Somos NeXt is frequently used in automotive assemblies, impellers, duct work, connectors and electronic covers, and short-run plastic parts. This high-performance material produces meticulous and dependable snap-fit designs and provides form, fit and function testing for concept designs.
Still unsure of the best stereolithography material for your part or model? Contact Harvest Tech for a professional consultation.