23 June 2017 16:04
The good news is that FDM is an inherently clean technology, which means the cleaning stage will not typically be as involved as with SLS prints. However, while it does not leave the same volume of waste material as SLS -- especially if you are using dissolvable support structures -- it is still important to factor the cleaning of your part into your post-processing stage. This is especially important if you are planning on painting or finishing your part, as it’s vital that you begin with a clean surface to ...
23 June 2017 10:53
With any FDM print, the finishing stage is what will take your end result from just ‘good’ to truly professional, whether it’s an attractive display piece or a durable, functional part. Here are a few practical tips to make your finishing process both efficient and effective:   Remove any support structures first Any FDM print requires support structures to avoid drooping or deformation, so these will need to be removed before any other post-processing can take place. We’ve already looked at support structures in detail on the blog, so refer back to that ...
12 June 2017 15:41
Being a powder-based process, any SLS project will be inherently messy, especially during the post-processing, when support materials need to be removed and excess powder extracted before the curing stage. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to the cleaning process and make sure it is treated as a key part of your post-processing stage. While this may seem simple, it can in fact prove deceptively difficult if you wish to avoid damaging your finished parts. However, with the right approach to cleaning parts, it is possible to achieve ...
09 June 2017 10:12
The post-processing stage of any additive manufacturing project is when a design really comes to life and takes on a professional look. However, to ensure the continued well-being of yourself and your teams, it’s always worth bearing in mind a few key points to avoid any risk of injury. We would recommend you treat the following points as a handy checklist and follow them during the post-processing stages of all your AM projects. 1) Check your material and chemical specifications Being well-informed before post-processing begins will help you avoid dangerous mistakes. Your ...
26 May 2017 16:23
Many AM professionals consider support structures a necessary evil and look forward to the day when printing technology makes them unnecessary. However, their intelligent application opens up a wide range of opportunities for printing complex models that would not be achievable otherwise. For example, with the right support structures, it is now possible to produce a sophisticated front-piece for a sports car in a single print run. Support structures, as the name implies, support your part throughout the printing process, ensuring each element can print cleanly and accurately, with no deformation ...
24 May 2017 16:20
With any SLS project, achieving a successful print is only the first step. Once your design has emerged from the printer, it’s time to begin the post-processing stage, to give it a truly professional look. In this week’s tutorial, we’re going to look at the different steps you should consider and how to ensure they deliver the result you’re after.   Removing the leftover powder With any SLS print, you will need to remove the excess powder before any further finishing can take place, which is typically done with a blast of compressed ...
19 May 2017 15:10
While many people still think of plain-coloured plastic when it comes to 3D printing, it is not only possible, but more straightforward than ever before to achieve vivid, full-colour results for both prototypes and production parts. In this week’s tutorial we’ll look at some of the available options for achieving great results with coloured SLS prints. There are a few options for adding colour to your SLS parts during the post-processing stage. The best choice for your part will depend on its intended purpose (i.e. is it intended for demonstration purposes, ...
10 May 2017 14:51
Fused deposition modelling remains one of the most popular techniques for 3D printing amongst hobbyists, AM bureaus and industrial manufacturing companies alike. In this tutorial, we’ll take a closer look at the mechanics of the process and share some practical tips for getting the most out of your chosen materials and 3D printers.   What is fused deposition modelling? Fused deposition modelling prints 3D objects by using a heated filament to manually build up layers of material. A thermoplastic material is heated to a semi-liquid state, after which an extrusion head builds the layers ...
09 May 2017 17:15
Anyone -- amateur and professional alike -- who has ever printed a 3D CAD model has utilised 3D slicing software. Slicing programmes are the tool that translate 3D models -- everything from simple geometric shapes to complex medical and architectural models -- into information that the printer can use to bring the design to life. Crucially, the right 3D slicing software will allow you to strike the perfect balance between fast printing and the quality of the printed part, so it’s important to select the right tool, and make effective ...
04 May 2017 15:28
Ever since Chuck Hull printed his first prototype at home more than 30 years ago, plastics have been the material type most associated with the field of additive manufacturing. 3D printing with plastics allows for the quick creation of quality prototypes, but with recent advances in printing materials and technology, also offers opportunities for the creation of functional parts, suitable for mass production. In this short tutorial, we will look closely at some of the options currently available for printing with plastics, their respective advantages/disadvantages, and some of the key ...