THE OFFERING TO COMPANIES
We are moving carefully into the corporate market place. We can print designs which fit within a 330 x 240 x 300 mm build envelope - though anything which comes close to filling this volume would take many days to print.
A fairly solid 15cm high item with overhangs took us three and a half days to print
We have been doing a certain amount of
Short runs of bespoke designs which would otherwise have been injection moulded.
We can routinely print items capable of withstanding moderately serious stresses. Without using any exotic filaments we have produced test prints which have withstood 160kg tension (our basic PLA filament) and 210 kg (resin). On a day-to-day basis, such basic prints will look good and stand up to routine handling for years, providing the designs are reasonably robust. At this level, you can totally control colours, in that there is a company which produces filaments to precise pantone numbers.
However, there are an increasing range of more specialised filaments with distinct physical, tactile or functional characteristics. Although some of these high-performance filaments will test the abilities of our printers, we can advise on filament choices to give specific results. Aspects which might interest you are
Aesthetics - wood, metal effects
Alternative to plastics - ceramics,earthenware
Castability (re moulds etc)
Hygroscopy - degrees of water absorption
Inter-layer strength - Shearing resistance
Magnetic capabilities - ferromagnetism
Phosphorescence - Glow in Dark
Post-print colouring - dyeing etc
So, if you specify your end working environment, we will have a good chance of finding a material which will satisfy your needs - with one important caveat. As that working environment becomes more demanding, issues round structural integrity will become more pressing. Our printers lay down layers of filament which, though they fuse to some extent, will be vulnerable to shearing. As with fibre-reinforced composites, it is possible to counter this by optimising print orientation. However, it would currently be unsafe to put one of our prints into a working engine or into the rigging of a racing yacht.
Our Ultimaker S5 can take filaments which are being touted as producing prints which can be competitive with injection-moulded components. The kind of end uses which are now being discussed are
Automotive under-the-hood applications
Protective and supporting sports gear
High performance functional parts
Manufacturing jigs and fixtures
Medical braces and prosthetics
Light weight applications
Structural applications requiring durable and stiff parts with good mechanical properties
Mechanical parts like hinges, buckles, or gears
Feel free to float ideas at us, and we will advise as to whether we can print to meet your needs