Skip to main content

Stratasys PolyJet Multi-Material 3D Printing

OVERVIEW
For the few products made of one material and color, prototyping and production can be a one-step process. However, most products are assemblies, comprised of several parts that are typically made from different materials, in more than one color (Figure 1). Each part must be individually machined, molded or cast in the desired material and color and then assembled together. Painting and decorative operations may also be necessary to complete the product.

Figure 1: 
3D printed calculator with a rigid housing, clear display and soft- touch keys with printed characters.

APPLICATION OUTLINE
Multi-material 3D printing creates prototypes that simulate final- production parts in a single operation, which improves functional evaluations and overall appearance. Using PolyJet™ Connex™ technology, a single part can have a variety of mechanical properties, colors and levels of opacity and durometer. This unique technology is fast and efficient when creating prototypes with features that exemplify the finished product (Figure 2). PolyJet technology is a 3D printing process (additive manufacturing) that builds objects layer by layer, from computer aided design (CAD) files, by jetting tiny droplets of liquid photopolymers. With PolyJet ’s Connex family of 3D printers, two or three materials are jetted simultaneously and often blended to create digital materials.

Figure 2: 
3D printed glasses with clear lenses and a multi-colored frame.

The blended digital materials combine to deliver a wide range of material characteristics. Some blends mimic ABS plastic, while others simulate rubbers with different Shore A values. Digital materials also combine transparent and colored materials to alter appearances. For example, Connex 3D Printers offer more than 1,000 color options from an inventory of just 22 base materials (Figure 3). This provides designers and engineers with a single- operation prototyping option for parts that would otherwise require multiple fabrication steps.

Figure 3: 
Connex 3D Printers offers 20 color palettes for rigid and flexible materials.

Multi-material 3D printing reduces the time, effort and expense in the production and evaluation of products that combine multiple properties such as rigid, rubber-like, overmolded, and colored features (Figure 4). It also increases utilization and cost- effectiveness of the 3D printer by reducing downtime for material changeovers and increases the variety of material characteristics in parts produced in a single build (Figure 5).

 
Figure 4: Overmolded, multi-colored razor handles.   
 Figure 5: Multi-material printing

CUSTOMER STORY
Engineers and designers at Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, Wisconsin, are obsessed with continually improving their products. Trek’s prototyping lab was among the first to adopt the Objet ® 500 Connex3™ 3D Printer, an advanced, color, multi-material 3D printer using PolyJet technology. It creates prototypes that look and feel like production parts, with more material options and more uptime than ever before.

Engineers at Trek embraced multi-materials to integrate soft, rubber-like components into models built with durable Digital ABS™, one of the digital materials available with Connex3 3D Printers. This is important because many bicycle parts contain both soft and rigid materials. Prior to using Connex3 technology, engineers had to build these parts in separate jobs, swapping out 3D printing materials in between, and then bond the components together. The alternative was to make parts in one print job, but with less-than-optimal material characteristics.

“It ’s important for our prototype parts to look and feel like production parts,” says Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek’s prototype development group. Accessories like handlebar grips and chain guards require the same realism for fit and function testing (Figure 6). Multi-material 3D printing gives Trek’s designers the ability to quickly develop prototype parts with all of the desired characteristics of final-production parts.

Figure 6: Durable Digital ABS chain guard with rubber-like components made in one print job.

Trek’s engineers also use multi-material 3D printing to communicate through color. The product development team was able to translate finite-element analysis data into a physical 3D color map of a bike seat showing the pressure a rider puts on specific areas of the seat (Figure 7). This lets designers actually “see” these pressure points, allowing them to decide where to put high-density foam for a better-performing seat.

Figure 7: Color map model shows the pressure that a rider puts on the seat.

The ability to 3D print parts with different material properties in multiple colors gives Trek Bicycle faster prototyping capabilities as well as more descriptive concept communications.


Source: Stratasys Application Brief

Popular posts from this blog

Delivering High Quantities of Prototypes Fast

Objective3D Direct Manufacturing produces parts using a range of additive and conventional manufacturing technologies. We offer tailored solutions for your project’s needs. If your project requires larger quantities of small parts – fast, Laser Sintering is the best technological solution for you. Per-part pricing is reduced as quantities increase, but there are more advantages to using Laser Sintering for small prototypes than price alone.

Laser Sintering (LS) provides strong, versatile and geometrically intricate components made from filled and un-filled nylon materials that are ideal for fit and form verification and functional testing. Prototypes made with LS are created quickly and offer robust solutions for your project.
FAST Delivery Laser Sintering can provide sturdy, functional prototypes as little as 24 hours. Multi-component designs can be incorporated into single structures, allowing engineers to produce complex features and geometries in one print, and eliminating the need…

Commodore Ute to US: 100,000 votes needed!

According to The Age Drive and an article by Barry Park, we are again set to export our Commodore Ute to the US.

The article is as follows:

US website rallies to GM's Twitter call of 'If you ask for an El Camino ute, we'll do it'.

An off-the-cuff quip from General Motors' newly appointed chief marketing officer could be just the thing to help Holden's cause to sell the Commodore ute in the US.

Joel Ewanick, who made the jump from Hyundai to the US car maker late last year, recently joined the social networking service Twitter. He soon started interacting with Chevrolet fans, with many of them asking for the car maker to re-introduce a vehicle based on a cross between a truck (ute) and a car.

In response to one passionate request for a new-age El Camino, Ewanick wrote: ''Well, we need you and 100,000 more of your best friends.''

Advertisement: Story continues below That was enough for US motoring website Jalopnik, which is now on a campaign to collect…

Canberra para-athlete Scott Reardon wins gold with 3D Printed Spike Plates

Canberra para-athlete Scott Reardon has sprinted his way to gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha with victory in the T42 100m for leg amputees.

The fastest qualifier coming into the finals, Reardon, using a 3D Printed Spike Plate, got his nose in front to stop the clock in a time of 12.13 seconds - a mere one-hundredth of a second in front of Russia's Anton Prokhorov.
It was sweet revenge for Reardon, the 25-year-old having to share the gold medal two years ago at the world championships in Lyon in 2013 with Germany's Heinrich Popow​.
"You come to championships to win championships and that's the most important thing," Reardon said.
"I probably didn't get the time I wanted, but when people look back, how I got there won't matter. "It will just show me as world champion, and that's so exciting."
The result is the culmination of more than a decade of determination and training.

The Spike Plates which Reardon used in the …