Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process of creating physical objects or components by building the part one layer at a time, guided by digital design files. The file or layer is “printed” one layer at a time using materials specified for the end–use application. RMB typically relies on virgin, high-performance polymer resins. The additive manufacturing process reduces material waste, increases design flexibility, and offers engineers the ability to create components with complex shapes and geometries not possible using traditional manufacturing methods.
For over 20 years, we have used a process called Selective Laser Sintering to create durable, production thermoplastic parts for customers that have strict geometry and material specifications. This process typically does not require tooling and is well-suited to iterative design changes.
The main industries we serve with additive manufacturing are defense and commercial aerospace. We also pride ourselves on offering custom additive manufacturing solutions. Please contact us to discuss your project.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Selective Laser Sintering
|This process supports complex geometries, which reduces part count and installation labor||Material selection is limited to those that are designed for use in selective laser sintering|
|Design iteration can be rapidly integrated; no need to retool a mold||There can be size restrictions due to the machine size|
|Easily design a product with optimal features without traditional manufacturing constraints, such as variable wall thickness, internal features, integrated mounting brackets, etc|
|It creates durable production parts that withstand impact during installation and maintenance|
|There is a potential for weight reduction of the part|
Selective Laser Sintering Process
Selective laser sintering fabricates complex plastic parts and assemblies in a single process, one layer at a time.
The first step in the process is to upload the CAD (computer-aided design) model of the part to the selective laser sintering machine. The machine uses the CAD model to slice the design into thousands of horizontal layers.
Fine plastic powder is then rolled across a platform in a heated chamber. Per the CAD model, selected parts of the layer are melted by a CO2 laser. The platform lowers down as each layer is selectively melted on top of the last.
Once all the layers have been processed, the result is one or more fully dense, solid parts, encased in a block of powder. Test coupons may also be built alongside each part to nondestructively validate the part’s mechanical or chemical integrity.
The next step is to break each part out of the powder and clean it. Once the test coupons are validated, the part is now ready to be post-machined, painted or assembled with hardware.
Selective Laser Sintering Materials
We use a variety of thermoplastic polymers in our selective laser sintering process. Below are the materials we use.
Contact us to discuss what material is the best solution for your project.
|wdt_ID||Material||Application||Maximum Service Temperature||Data Sheet|
|1||Nylon 11||Aerospace ducting and other complex shapes with interior features.||220° F / 104° C||D-80|
|2||Flame Retardant Nylon 11||Aerospace ducting and other complex shapes with interior features requiring FAR 25-853 60 second vertical flame testing.||220° F / 104° C||FR-106|
|Material||Application||Maximum Service Temperature|