TECHNOLOGY-SELECTION-GUIDE
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  • TECHNOLOGY-SELECTION-GUIDE

TECHNOLOGY SELECTION GUIDE

Here is the guiding list for technology selection, it contains the description , pros and cons and other iterms as below, you can check it for all the details and then choose the best prototyping method.

Learn which prototyping method is best for your application. (Please click links below)

SLA

Stereolithography is an additive fabrication process that utilizes a laser to cure thin layers in a vat of liquid UV-sensitive photopolymer. Model resolution can be modified by changing laser “spot size” and layer thickness. Smaller spot size and layer thickness increase resolution, and also increase build time and cost.SLA models can be post-processed for varying levels of finish. Include removes supports and cleans the parts, sanded and bead-blasted, making them suitable for engineering review.SLA models may also be finished and decorated to provide an accurate visual representation of the part.
For concept models or patterns to be used as masters for other prototyping methods, SLA rapid prototyping techniques can produce parts with complex geometries and excellent surface finishes as compared to other additive processes.Pricing is very competitive.
Functional testing is usually not possible on SLA parts, as they tend to be weaker than parts made of engineering resins. The UV curing aspect of the process makes parts susceptible to degradation from sunlight exposure. Despite being capable of generating complex parts, the process gives no indications as to ultimate manufacturability of the design.
UV cured photopolymer,similar to ABS.
Poor
0.5mm
0.10mm-0.15mm
smooth with layer lines Post-build finishing
Sanding, Sand Blasting, Polishing, Painting, Printing, Vacuum Plating
2-5 days
1-10 Parts
Single Part
Yes
Yes
No
Limited
No
No
No

SLS

The SLS process uses a laser to build parts by sintering (fusing) powdered material layer by layer from the bottom up. SLS prototype manufacturing parts can be accurate and more durable than SLA parts, but the finish is relatively poor with a grainy or sandy feel. There is reduced strength between the fused particles, so the parts will tend to be weaker than machined or molded parts made from the same resin. In addition, there are very few resins available in the powdered form that is required for SLS.
Process can make complex parts that are generally more durable and accurate than SLA parts.
The parts have a grainy or sandy texture and are typically not suitable for functional testing due to their reduced mechanical properties. While SLS can make parts with complex geometries, it gives no insight into the eventual manufacturability of the design.
Laser cured Nylon®
Fair
0.8mm-1.2mm (depends on geometry)
0.10mm-0.20mm
rough with grainy texture Post-build finishing
Sanding, Sand Blasting, Painting, Printing
2-5 days
1-10 Parts
Single Part
Yes
Yes
No
Limited
No
No
No

CNC MACHINING

A solid block of plastic is clamped into a CNC machining and cut into a finished part. This rapid manufacturing method produces superior strength and surface finish to any additive process. It also has the complete, homogenous properties of the plastic, as opposed to the additive processes which use “plastic like” materials and are built in layers. The wide range of material choices allows parts to be made with the desired material properties, such as: tensile strength, impact resistance, heat deflection temperatures, chemical resistance and biocompatibility.
Produces strong parts with good prototype manufacturing surface finish. Suitable for engineering evaluation and testing. Models can be machined out of plastic, aluminum, magnesium, or most other metals.Good tolerances yield parts suitable for fit and functional testing. rapid manufacturing Prototypes can be delivered in days like additive processes.
Part geometries can be limited due to the nature of CNC machining. Process can be expensive because programmers and machinists are needed to create CNC toolpaths and fixturing for the parts.
Many engineering grades
Excellent
0.5mm-0.8mm (depends on geometry)
0.05mm-0.10mm
smooth high accuracy Post-build finishing
Sanding, Sand Blasting, Polishing, Painting, Printing, Vacuum and Chemica Plating, Anodizing, Powder Coating
3-8 days
1-50 Parts
Single Part
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Limited
Yes

VACUUM CASTING

Vacuum casting is a rapid prototyping techniques process that is sometimes utilized for creating multiple models using a single master model as a pattern. The master model, typically built using the SLA or CNC process, is finished and textured to simulate the final product. Silicone rubber is poured over the part, and when cured, the master model is removed, leaving a core and cavity capable of producing up to 25 copies of the original. The mold is then injected with a liquid urethane thermoset resin that can be custom tinted, resulting in parts that are productionlike in appearance, and can be used for fit and function evaluation, as well as some limited testing.
Allows you to make multiple copies of models very quickly, while incorporating most custom colors and textures. Wide range of mechanical properties and durometers. Flexible silicone rubber molds allow you to mold some features that can’t be molded conventionally without special tooling, keeping costs down. Molded in inserts and overmolds are possible.
Thermoset urethanes are not representative of injection molded thermoplastics. Limited functional testing. Variables in the creation and finishing of the master model, the construction of the silicone mold, and the de-molding and finishing of the castings can affect accuracy.
Many polyurethanes, varying hardness.
Good
0.6mm-1.0mm (depends on geometry)
0.05mm-0.15mm
smooth high accuracy Post-build finishing
Sanding, Sand Blasting, Polishing, Painting, Printing, Vacuum Plating
5-8 days
10-100 Parts
Low Volume Parts
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Limited

PAPID TOOLING

When your production tooling won’t be ready for months, rapid manufacturing injection molding is a great way to receive parts quickly and inexpensively. Can be use various materials and techniques to create bridge tooling for prototype testing and evaluation. Rapid Injection molds can be produced in cast steel, aluminum, P-20 or high-grade tool steel. . If you are ready to go into production, take advantage of the high-speed machining, EDM, injection molding presses, and wide selection of materials. And by offering rapid tooling and injection molding together, you get your complex and intricate parts faster and at a reduced cost.
Can be deliver prototypes and short-run prototype manufacturing production engineering-grade thermoplastics fast, reducing time to market. Easily manage risk before going into production by taking advantage of the flexibility to create custom injection molded parts. You can either use this tooling for initial production or as a back-up option if your production tooling is delayed or waiting for changes.
“Tooling costs can make the process appear to be more expensive than others on first examination, but cost per finished piece is usually significantly lower than additive processes or CNC machining.”
All thermoplastics
Excellent
0.5mm-0.8mm (depends on geometry)
0.02mm-0.05mm
smooth high accuracy None required
All finishing available
15-35 days
100-50000 Parts
High Volume Production
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No