Rapid prototyping has become a fundamental step of the development cycle for many businesses. By either printing a prototype in-house, or with the assistance of a service bureau, additive manufacturing (AM) reduces the amount of time a product or part goes from the drawing board to something that can be touched and inspected.
Specialized applications of AM can be even more time reliant. At RAPID 2012 (Rapid Ready coverage here), I was introduced to the use of 3D printed prototypes for rally car racing. Prodrive produces rally cars from Mini Countryman Cooper S stock. Paul Doe, chief designer — rally, told the assemblage about how the company leverages AM.
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up once every few weeks and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
We’ll start up this Roundup with a look at recent 3D Systems acquisitions. Back in April, 3D Systems acquired Paramount Industries. Paramount is a direct manufacturing firm with experience in the medical and aerospace parts businesses. Selective laser sintering, stereolithography, urethane castings and injection molding are some of the processes offered by the new acquisition.
Editor’s note: In an effort to help our readers differentiate the companies providing rapid technologies, we will be profiling them on Rapid Ready Technology. If you are a rapid technology manufacturer or service provider and would like to be considered for a profile, please contact us.
Anyone ever sat through a geology class recognizes the word “strata” as describing layers of rock lying atop each other to create an aggregate whole. In nature, these formations take years to develop as sedimentary material is laid down and covered over again and again. This elementary process of creation also forms the basis for the name Stratasys, a 3D printer and service supplier.
No doubt inspiration for the name came from the process that Stratasys has built its company on, namely fused deposition modeling (FDM). The devices that use this process heat and extrude a filament of thermoplastic material and layer it into the desired shape, along with any necessary support structures. Support structures are often designed to be soluble so they wash away in a water-based solution. Frequently used materials for this process include ABS thermoplastics, polycarbonates and polyphenylsulfone.