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3 Procedures Commonly Used for Plastic Prototyping

The most used procedures include stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), PolyJet, fused deposition modeling (FDM), Multi Jet Fusion etc.

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Posted on:  Aug 9, 2018, | By Candy, WayKen Marketing Manager

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Plastic and metal are some of the most common materials used in the creation of different parts in rapid prototyping. Plastic manufacturing services are in high demand by companies that produce reliable parts because of the number of benefits that come with it. You will find different plastic prototype manufacturers out there who can do the best job for you. There are a lot of advanced procedures that can be used in the designing of plastic parts.

You should look at the procedures used by the plastic prototype manufacturer you want to choose. Coming up with a new part may turn out to be a daunting task for many. You must consider the operational function of that particular design and the product in general. Determine the role of the specific part you want. Choose the right material before settling on the engineer or plastic prototype manufacturer you find best-placed for the job.

The design is usually determined by weight, strength, quality, and accuracy. Prototyping helps bring that balance when creating new parts. When it comes to designing plastic parts, you can use different prototyping options. The developments that have been witnessed in manufacturing technologies have brought about countless expeditious, three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) based tools which you can pick with 3D printing being one of them.

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining and injection modeling are other advanced technologies that can be used. High-grade 3D printing or additive manufacturing remain some of the production procedures that act as the best alternative to the production of different parts compared to the traditional methods.

The most used procedures include stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), PolyJet, fused deposition modeling (FDM), Multi Jet Fusion and many others. Each of these procedures helps come up with parts through blending or joining, curing, and extrusion which involves the removal of layers of material to come up with long lasting prototypes.

CNC machining is also used quite a number of times in the prototyping sphere for an excellent visible shape, fitness and operational evaluation of plastic parts. Additive manufacturing technologies offer great possibilities for lead time compression.

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Stereolithography (SLA)

In this procedure, an ultraviolet ray is used to harden a liquid photopolymer. The beam is passed through the external part of the polymer to form a thick, hard layer. The table is then lowered to give room for more liquid to cover the hard layer, after which the laser is scanned through it one more time. Once it is finished, the SLA part should be washed and sanding done on it to do away with the ridges that have formed in between the tiers. There are top levels of precision when using this procedure.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

A plastic thread is removed through a spout to a stand or supporting surface. It is then heated to make it smooth and viscous after which the creation of shapes is done by placing continuous layers on top of each other. Some completion practices are required to come up with that satisfactory final look. A wide variety of plastics can be created using the fused deposition modeling procedure. They include polyamides, polystyrene, and polycarbonates. Precision is top notch, and at times the type of machine you are using can determine the levels of accuracy.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

This procedure involves the heating of powder until its small solid particles merge. It is somehow similar to stereolithography because it involves the creation of a three-dimensional design tier by tier with a ray of UV light scanning above the powder to create heat. This procedure is applicable in both metals and plastics. The layers produced are much thicker, and the levels of accuracy are high compared to other processes. It can be used in the creation of fully operational parts when handled carefully to stay clear of void fraction.

Benefits of Manufacturing Plastic Parts

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There are several reasons why many prefer manufacturing plastic parts compared to other products. The following are the benefits of producing plastic parts:

It is cheap- One good thing about making plastic parts is that it is less expensive. More pieces can be created within a short period. The injection molding procedure is much faster which helps minimize the cost of production.

Time-Saving - Production of plastic parts takes less time compared to that of other materials. They can undergo dying before they are mixed with the mold which helps reduce an entire step in the manufacturing process.

It is long lasting- Plastic tops the list when it comes to fundamental strength. This material is usually sturdy, light and can be used efficiently. It gives room for essential features like bosses and gussets during the production process. Steel, which is another material used in production will require additional adjustments which reduce its lifespan. The durable nature of plastic makes it serve you for an extended period.

It is reusable- Plastic is an all-round material which can be recycled. Once it is rendered non-operational, it can be recycled and used to come up with several other parts. This is good for production and environmental conservation as well.

Gives products an extended life- Plastics are known to have an increased chemical resistance compared to metals. Products made from plastic will last longer because of this unique feature. This material can also not be affected by rusting or oxidation, which guarantees product made from it an extended lifespan.

Plastic Prototyping

There are a few things you should understand before going to order plastic prototype parts. Not every type of plastic can be used in the rapid prototyping procedure. You will find a difficult time getting the right properties or the required performance. Form, aptness, and completion are usually lower to that which can be achieved through injection molding. You should also understand that rapid prototyping machines that cost less have smaller working capabilities. The time taken to produce one part can go for hours depending on different factors which include the thickness of the layer, complexity, and also the size. Coming up with more than single-digit amounts can be expensive and time-consuming.

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