Engineering features - Photocentric3D
Manufacturers of 3D polymer. Affordable Daylight 3D polymers for Liquid Crystal and UV 3D polymers for DLP and SLA 3D printers.
Manufacturers of 3D polymer. Affordable Daylight 3D polymers for Liquid Crystal and UV 3D polymers for DLP and SLA 3D printers. 3D Printer manufacturers. 3D printers. Liquid Crystal printer. Industrial 3D printer
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3D FOR ENGINEERING

There are hundreds of ways in which 3D printing can be utilised to benefit the engineering industry. New applications of the technology are being explored and developed all the time.

Prototyping is where 3D printing first took off. Scale models can be generated to test form, fit and function, at a fraction of the cost of a machined or moulded part, in a fraction of the time. Prototypes might be used in destructive testing to identify stress concentrations or weaknesses in a component. Models can be used in wind-tunnels to test aerodynamic performance. They might be used as a tactile and visual aid in product design discussions regarding aesthetics and ergonomics.

With the correct material choice, 3D printing can now generate end-use, functional parts. The technology excels where small batch or one-off production is necessary and can eliminate tooling costs. Bespoke items can be produced quickly and cheaply. It might be a fitted shoe sole customised to the unique shape of your foot, or a spare part that is obsolete or difficult to find. Even larger production runs may be suited to 3D printing if the desired geometry of a component is simply impossible to achieve any other way. There are now printers making metal parts with properties that match those of equivalent machined parts.

Currently most 3D materials are not as strong as ABS, the parts do not end up as smooth as those from an injection moulded tool and the prices are much too high. We are working to change all three of those limitations.

SUITABLE RESINS

Firm resin will allow you to print parts that are tough and durable. The properties of the finished part will allow additional processes such as tapping or machining.

PRICE

£45*

1kilo 

*Local Tax may apply

ENGINEERING TIPS

When printing very large items, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, does the item need to be solid? You can save a lot of resin, and money, by hollowing out a part. Some 3D printing software, such as Meshmixer, will enable you to do this easily. If you need the part to have some strength, a more generous wall thickness can be used (eg 4-5mm) or you could build an infill structure. Again, there is some software available that can do this automatically. If the part has no structural requirements, a thinner wall can be used (eg 2mm) and an impressive item can be printed using a surprisingly small volume of resin.

Larger parts that have awkward geometries or very little structural strength can be damaged by the shrinkage of the resin as it cures. This might cause some distortion in a thin wall, for example, or dimensional inconsistencies. The effects can be minimised by choosing a low-shrink resin, strengthening the part using an infill structure, or adding extra support. Bear in mind that supports are not just there to allow overhanging geometry. They anchor the part to the build platform and can constrain it in places that would otherwise be vulnerable to distortion. Triangulated lattice structures will be strong and rigid. Software such as Meshmixer and Creation Workshop can help you manually generate additional supports wherever they might be needed.

If you are trying to create a functional, end-use part from photopolymer resin, it may be important to maximise the strength. Some parts that were originally intended to be metal could be made in plastic if the design is modified accordingly. Increasing the wall thickness, adding extra material around a hole, or rounding off an internal corner could all work in your favour. You could use webs of extra material to strengthen thin wall sections or tubes. Even allowing for the extra design effort and extra material, you may well end up with a cheaper part. Remember that all parts that are intended to take loads such as tension, compression, bending, torque, pressure, vacuum etc should be thoroughly tested before using them in any critical application. We cannot take responsibility for any loss or damage caused by the failure of a part printed using Liquid Crystal printers.

After making supports need to be removed and sanded away. The objects can be sanded, parts joined together using an adhesive (or even the photpolymer resin it was made with) and can be painted.

GALLERY OF SAMPLES