Find out more about our manufacturing processes below
Fused Deposition Modelling
A general engineering plastic widely used in industry. This is our most common 3D printing material.
As it can be joined with solvent there is no limit to the effective parts size. i.e. part can be much bigger than the printer build capacity.
Polycarbonate a strong and robust material that we would normally recommend if higher strength or heat resistance is required than ABS can provide.
PLA is mostly used by our customers for the Metal casting industry that is for “lost wax” or “investment casting”
PLA is long term biodegradable, made form corn starch. This makes it ideal for burning out cleanly when used for investment casting.
PET is a useful material if you are looking for high volume production runs of relatively simple or large parts, it can be more economic than ABS in this case but it depends on geometry.
The material is quite robust, for example coke bottles are made from PET
ESD – ABS
Electrostatic Discharge Safe (ESD) Materials are semi-conductive, these materials are used especially in electronics manufacturing for jigs and fixtures. Our ESD ABS is a high grade material that gives the correct resistance for Electrostatic dissipation.
Use ESD – ABS for water based conformal coating, See our ESD – PET material for Solvent based coatings
ESD – PET
Electrostatic Discharge Safe (ESD) Materials are semi-conductive, these materials are used especially in electronics manufacturing for jigs and fixtures. Our ESD PET is a high grade material that gives the correct resistance for Electrostatic dissipation.
Use ESD – PET for Solvent based conformal coating, See our ESD – ABS material for water based coatings
Our FDM rubber materials are very robust and range in hardness from 35 to 45 Shore D.
We have a range of colours, Red, White, Black and semi clear.
In the vertical (z) direction, features should be kept above 0.5mm thick, but ideally above 1mm. horizontally features should be thicker than 1mm or they will not print.
Wall thicknesses should ideally be 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, etc. (rather than 1.5mm, 2.5mm, 3.5mm etc.). These thicknesses are most efficient for our nozzle sizes.
The orientation of the part being printed effects both the surface finish, resolution, and strength of different features of your part.
Parts are prone to breaking along layer lines, however, our industrial heated chamber printers ensure that inter-layer bonding is much stronger than desktop FDM printers.
If you want your part to be strong in a certain direction and are unsure how to orientate it, just pop a comment on your object describing the application and we’ll orientate it for you.
Overhanging features of your part require support when printing. The printer will create a break-away structure underneath, which is later removed. Sometimes where the support touches the part, the surface finish is affected.
When designing a part for FDM printing, use overhang angles of 45 degrees and above where possible to reduce the necessary support. Your parts will be cheaper, look cleaner, and print faster.
For moving parts, threads, and other joints we recommend 0.2mm clearance so that parts fit and slide together.
For press fits, size for size works well in most applications, otherwise a light sand often fixes any issues.
This grey material is flexible and strong behaving like ABS, good for snap joints and parts requiring a combination of robustness and flex
This resin mimics polypropylene- often useful for prototyping bottles and more flexible components, for example living hinges.
This material is also very tough and hard to break.
This is our strongest SLA resin, with high stiffness and amazing toughness- it is difficult to break by hand.
This is a very useful material when you need tough!
General purpose SLA resin
This is our most economic material, it comes in three colours: black, white, and semi-transparent. The clear when polished, becomes almost glass-like. This material is similar to acrylic and will be suitable for many prototyping applications, it is however more brittle than our ABS like and glass filled material
This resin holds it’s shape in high temperature environments, perfect for small test jigs and fixtures or even mold tooling for small runs. With an incredible temperature resistance for an SLA material.
SLA parts can be painted with any pantone colour of your choice. This not only improves your parts visually, but also increases their lifetime as the paint blocks UV light from turning the plastic brittle over time.
Features and walls should be kept above 0.5mm thick. They can be made thinner, however, due to the brittle nature of SLA resins, they will be prone to snapping.
It is not recommended to use SLA materials together as moving parts as the material binds to itself easily. However with a clearance of 0.2mm or greater and some grease, parts do move well enough for demonstration purposes.
Multijet (or Polyjet) Printing
Stratasys RGD450 is design to simulate polypropylene, with good flexibility, even living hings can be produced.
Due to low friction this is a great material for threaded parts, valves etc…
In any direction (x, y, z) features should be kept above 0.5mm thick, below that the walls occasionally don’t appear in the print. Even if they do appear, the clean up process can be rough and thin features may break.
Polyjet parts are homogenous, so the orientation doesn’t affect strength like it does for FDM parts. However it does affect print time and cost.
The print head sweeps back and forth depositing a whole layer of plastic each sweep, so flat and wide is faster than tall and skinny. Our quoting software optimises your part orientation for the lowest cost.
Polyjet materials are naturally slippery, making this process a great choice for fitment testing.
It is still recommended to give threaded or moving parts 0.2mm clearance for best results.
Two-part Resin Casting
The vacuum casting we offer for rigid parts always starts with a polyurethane base. Usually it’s mixed with additives to change it’s properties, however it is possible to use plain polyurethane which gives a translucent finish as seen on the left.
The great surface finish and strength makes vacuum casting a perfect choice for final prototypes, prior to injection moulding.
ABS urethane is end-use, and behaves very similarly to real ABS with the exception of a slightly lower temperature resistance.
Polycarbonate urethane is end-use, and is stiffer than ABS urethane which makes it a great choice for parts that need physical testing prior to moulding.
Acrylic urethane is end-use, and can be made transparent or semi-transparent with added dye. One prime example would be a lens cover as shown to the left.
Nylon Glass Filled Urethane
This is our strongest vacuum cast material, very high stiffness and the same surface finish as any other vacuum cast urethane.
This has been used for physical testing to validate parts before moulding in real glass filled nylon.
We frequently cast silicone parts for custom seals and gaskets, but there is a wide variety of hardnesses available. Anything from the softness of a jelly baby right through to the hardness of a car tyre, all able to withstand 200degC or more.
The level of detail matches that of an injection moulded part.
Vacuum Casting gives a naturally smooth, matte surface finish on every type of polyurethane we offer.
A polished surface is necessary when parts need to be transparent, but also possible for opaque parts that need a gloss appearance.
Vacuum cast parts have a smooth finish and can easily be electroplated with chrome or various other metals.
In the vertical (z) direction, features should be kept above 0.5mm thick or they risk being snapped during the moulding process.
Wall thicknesses should ideally be 1mm or greater for to ensure your parts don’t get damaged during shipment.
Drafted surfaces aren’t a necessity for vacuum casting, however they are crucial for injection moulding which is a common next step.
Often drafted surfaces are tricky to implement into a model after it’s finished. So if you intend to go into production and eventually injection mould your product, we recommend considering drafting from the start!
Again, this is optional for vacuum casting, but recommended if proceeding to injection moulding.
Corner radii allow plastic to flow through your mould better and are fairly easy to imlpement after a CAD model is finished.