3D Printing Technologies

SLS – Selective Laser Sintering

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a powder based Rapid Prototyping method. The system starts by applying a thin layer of the powder material to the building platform. A powerful laser beam then fuses the powder at exactly the points defined by the computer-generated component design data. The platform is then lowered and another layer of powder is applied. Once again the material is fused so as to bond with the layer below at the predefined points.

Since the technology is powder based, there’s no need for a support structure. Parts can easily be cleaned by sandblasting and with some air pressure. When it comes to the actual product development, this can be a very big advantage which gives a lot of design freedom. (Interlinked/chain parts, rotating elements, gears,…)

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SLA – Stereolithography

Stereolithography is a liquid based Rapid Prototyping method. The laser beam traces a pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. The exposure to the UV-laser cures and solidifies the pattern, traced on the resin, and joins it to the layer below. After build, the parts are immersed in a chemical bath to be cleaned.

In comparison to SLS, this technology does need a support structure while building. Supports are manually removed and placed in a UV-oven. In general SLA models have a very smooth surface and are well suited for (esthetical) post-finishing.

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DLP – Digital Light Processing

Digital Light Processing is a liquid based Rapid Prototyping method. In comparison with the more known SLA, this technology uses acrylic resins instead of epoxies.

As the name already reveals, the technology is based on light projections instead of a laser which draws the contours of your part. The main advantage of this technology is that it can print much more accurate and detailed. With our DLP-technique we are able to produce highly accurate and precise models, with a standard resolution of 50 or 100 micron, depending on the chosen material.

This technique is well suited for producing small end series as well as quick prototypes. We have 18 different materials avaible, each with their own technicals characteristics. (ABS-like, ceramic filled, high HDT,…) Due to the level of detail which can be reached with this technology, we are able to print very thin mesh structures, internal channels and screw thread without having to post-finish the parts.

The transparent DLP-material which we have in house is UV-stable and glass clear. This makes it an ideal material to produce personalised lightguides, but also in the packaging industry the UV-stability is a big plus. On top of that, some of the materials are also Class VI biocompatible.

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FDM – Fused Deposition Modelling

Fused Deposition Modelling is a rapid prototyping technology which uses filament. This line of filament is guided from a coil attached to the printer, to a heated nozzle that melts the material. Once melted the material can be extruded. It will instantly cool down and get solidified.

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Ultem

SLM – Selective Laser Melting

Similar to SLS, the SLM technology is a powder based rapid prototyping technology.  Due to the high melting point of metal, much more power is required, so a high power laser is being used.

During the printing process, the machine distributes a layer of metal powder onto the build platform, which is melted by the laser. The build platform is lowered and the process is repeated until the object is fully printed.

Also with this technology support structures are needed. These will anchor the object and overhanging structures to the build platform and enables heat transfer away from the melted powder. To prevent warping and reduce thermal stresses, the SLM technology takes place in a low oxygen environment.

Different known materials are available, like f.e. aluminium, titanium and RVS. The technology is ideal for experimenting with lightweight structures, and produce technical end parts.

  • AlSi10Mg

  • Ti6Al4V

  • SS316L

  • MS1