I believe that anyone who has worked with a consumer-level 3D printer would tell you that 3D printing is not easy. Having worked with a variety of desktop 3D printers ranging in price and quality, including building a couple of my own kits, I would definitely agree. 3D printing as it currently exists for at-home users and hobbyists has a learning curve, and despite many companies claiming to offer plug-and-play solutions, can be very challenging if not frustrating at times.
Is it unreasonable to expect 3D print perfection? Indeed it is, but end users are quick to blame the machines.
Let me begin by stating that I’m not a plastics engineer, but I do know that thermoplastics have a glass transition temperature, meaning they will become liquid and solidify again at certain temperatures. This is the reason certain plastic items can be melted and used again repeatedly. As you may already know, this is exactly how FDM technology works: the materials are heated to their glass transition, extruded, and then solidify again. The process is quite simple, but obviously there’s much more to consider.
So you’re interested in qualifying that new product design that holds liquid but dreading the required post-processing? Keep calm and Insight.
There seems to be an endless amount of applications as Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology evolves. Nonetheless, those looking to AM for functional prototyping and end-use parts continue to get the job done with a 25 year-old workhorse - Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. A whopping 85% of the market is FDM based and it’s no surprise. It produces accurate and functional parts in a wide array of engineered production plastics.
Aside from all of its advantages, FDM is also inherently porous. For many applications this doesn’t come into play at all. If you’re thermoforming, you’d embrace this flaw. However, if you’re trying to hold a gas or liquid (in or out), this is a glaring limitation. So when porosity is a concern, starting with Insight processing software is the best way to ensure that your application is successful.
End of Arm Tooling enables robotic arms to perform a wide range of activities in the manufacturing process including gripping, sanding, painting, and welding. Often times, End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) is highly customized to a specific operation and industry; as a result components typically are produced out of metal or plastic using traditional machining techniques.
Sand Casting is a metal casting process, using a mold created by depressing a pattern into sand. The pattern imprints a cavity, which is used to cast an array of metal alloys. Sand casting is widely used across many industries to create everything from small items, such as door handles, as well as large components, like engine blocks. Additive manufacturing (AM) has reinvented the traditional practices used in sand casting to reduce cost and increase throughput.
A previous blog post 3D Printing with Jigs and Fixtures outlined the increasing prominence of additive manufacturing for producing jigs and fixtures to ensure production efficiency and product quality. Stratasys 3D printing technology allows for the production of a wide array of jigs and fixtures that can meet needs across many industries. There are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing which Stratasys technology, FDM or PolyJet, produces the best use in a specific jig or fixture.
Manufacturing relies on tools such as jigs and fixtures to maintain product quality and production efficiency. Whether these tools are used to position parts during the assembly process, used in the quality control departments to check dimensions, or used as guides for machining; each plays an extremely important role in a company's manufacturing process.
Stratasys FDM technology is powered by Insight job processing and management software. During this video, we discuss the 10 most popular functions of Insight and what the functions are for. This includes basic modification of tool paths, fixing a part, deleting and modifying things, the copy function, your sparse options, scaling a part, sectioning a part, the hide function, the stabilize wall function, and the pause function.