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MATERIALS | 3D PRINT COMPOUNDS


The basics of 3D print production


All 3D print technologies are additive, meaning they build parts by adding material to a structure rather than removing it. Most use a raster-technol- ogy to build parts layer-by-layer. However, there are several different techniques in use, which are most easily defined by the type of raw material they use.


Liquid resin


Additive manufacturing started out back in the 1980s using light-cured liquid resins – Stereolithography (SLA). In this process, a laser is used to selectively cure resin in a tank. The process is particularly good for production of fine details but material choice is limited and it is not possible to use “production” resins – only photopolymers that simulate them. As SLA can be a little slow in build terms, newer techniques such as Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Material Jetting have been developed to speed production.


Solid filaments Filament machines use material in the form of a rod (filament) that is melted and jetted as drops via a heated nozzle. Now the most commonly used AM process, due to its lower invest- ment cost, it is referred to as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). Typical filament materials include PLA, ABS, PET, TPU and more recently PEEK. While the resin is only applied where it is required, it is sometimes neces- sary to use a second material to support the structure during build and to avoid warpage. These “support structures” can be designed to be broken away or dissolved in water.


Powdered resin Rather than applying the polymer where it is needed, powder systems use a laser to fuse selected parts of a thin layer of powder, repeating this layer-by-layer to create the final part. The resulting component is built


ing material that enables new product designs from concept to solid 3D objects in a fraction of the time it takes for traditional manufacturing. The polymer’s tailored properties enable Amphora SP1621 to have good in-process and post-produc- tion capabilities, including high recyclability, toughness and flexibility, and ease of processing. At Fakuma 2018 Covestro will be presenting a demonstrator of a complex shock absorber, produced using three different AM processes. The outer spring of the 404mm by 70mm part is made of powdered thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) shaped using selective laser sintering and is notable for its elasticity and high abrasion resist- ance. The adjusting screw inside the shock absorb- er is made of a polycarbonate material using the fused filament fabrication process. The air chamber in the interior is created from a liquid polyurethane resin produced using a light processing method proven to be effective for components with filigree structures. “This complex structure would not have been possible with conventional production processes,” says Lukas Breuers, Marketing Manager for 2D and


72 COMPOUNDING WORLD | October 2018


within the powder, so support structures are not required. However, the unfused powder materials cannot always be reused so wastage can be an issue. The most common technol- ogy is Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Available materials include PA and PEEK.


Production resins A number of additive manufacturing systems use conventional granular polymers that are plasticised in an extruder before being fed to a print nozzle. Perhaps the best known within the plastics industry is Arburg’s Freeformer. Such machines can use standard production plastics, which keeps cost down and allows closer simulation to injection moulded parts. However, the range of materials that can be processed, while in theory broad, is limited due to difficulties passing fillers or fibres through the print nozzles. Support structures are required for many geometries.


3D printing at Covestro. “Another new develop- ment is the combination of different materials with various, tailor-made properties. This has enabled us to significantly expand the possibilities of additive production and its areas of application.”


CLICK ON THE LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION: � www.aimplas.net � www.natureworksllc.com � www.slant3d.com � www.solvayam.com � www.carbodeon.com � www.tiamet3d.com � www.dsm.com � www.evonik.com � www.eos.info � www.schlenk.com � www.herz-filament.huwww.gabriel-chemie.com � www.lehvoss.dewww.sabic.com � www.victrex.com � www.eastman.com � www.covestro.com


www.compoundingworld.com


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