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.
The additive manufacturing process reduces material waste. It increases design potential by giving engineers the ability to create components with complex shapes and geometries that are not possible using traditional manufacturing methods.
RMB Products has more than 15 years of experience employing additive manufacturing, or selective laser sintering, to create durable, thermoplastic parts. Typically, thermoplastic components replace heavier metal or composite parts to help trim the weight on the aircraft. The fact that the process does not require tooling supplies the flexibility to make iterative design changes and shorten delivery timelines.
RMB utilized high-performance polymer resins to maintain part integrity and enable traceability. The polymers are highly recyclable in our processes and produce parts that conform to customer engineering design criteria. 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
|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|