Polyjet 3D printing is the additive manufacturing technology which is the most like inkjet printing. Instead of jetting drops of ink onto paper, droplets of liquid photopolymer are jetted onto a build platform and UV cured layer by layer to create a smooth, detailed prototypes.
A part is designed using a 3D CAD system such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD Inventor, ProE, etc. The native CAD file is exported to a STL file which is a rendered surface model used by 3D printing software. The STL file is then processed through the printer software for orientation on the build plate, layer slicing (as thin as 0.0006 inches), and placement of the support structure. The file is then sent to the printer and droplets of ultraviolet curable material are jetted onto the build platform per the cross section data. As the material is laid down, it is cured with an ultraviolet light. When the layer is complete, the build platform is lowered one layer thickness and another layer is printed in the same method, adhering to the previous layer. Support material is printed as the part is built to provide strength for overhangs and fine features. When all of the layers are finished printing and curing, the part is removed from the platform and the support material is removed by hand or with water. The part is finished and no post curing is required.
Polyjet printers offer the advantage of printing multiple materials in the same print. A single part can be printed with Digital ABS and “overmolded” with an elastomeric material. The system is uniquely useful for designers and engineers looking to highlight the varying material components in complex or assembled products.
- Fine detail prints for concepts and show models
- Multi-material printing to vary properties
- Overmold printing capabilities
- Tooling for low temperature molding of silicone and urethanes
- Materials Brochure
- ABS-like digital material
- VeroClear rigid transparent
- Tango family of rubberlike flexible
- FullCure720 general purpose
- Vero family of rigid opaque
- DurusWhite polypropylene-like
- Build Volume: 10 x 9.9 x 7.9 in (255 x 252 x 200 mm)
- Accuracy: As fine as 0.0006 in Layer Thickness (0.016 mm)
- Build resolution: X-axis 600 dpi, Y-axis 600 dpi, Z-axis 1600dpi
Avid 3D Printing has made this process even easier for me to use. Because A3D uses SolidWorks I can send files with multiple configurations and ask for quotes and models in any or all configurations. My experience has been that the pricing and delivery are highly competitive with others in this business. Additionally, I believe that A3D's mechanical knowledge has been helpful during brief dialogues regarding specific part features and/or process capabilities. I will continue to use A3D for quick turn on prototypes.