3D Printing and Prototyping with ARRK

Published on 13/08/2018 by ATI

On Friday 6th July at the St Austell Pop-up Innovation Centre, the Acceleration Through Innovation team hosted Craig Vickers, Head of Prototyping Division and Marc Bouvier, Marketing and PR Manager from ARRK Europe on the benefits of using 3D printing within prototyping. This talk was of interest to all who attended and gave an insight in the types of methods used to produce an innovative prototype.

Additive manufacturing/3D printing methods have moved forward within the last 20 years and now prototyping can be utilised within small budgets, either by using commercial tooling companies like ARRK or within your own company.
Sterolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) can all be utilised within the prototyping stage, but due to their different processes it is important to understand which would suit your product innovation. Both SLS and SLA use a resin to form the product instead of a nylon line that is used within FDM. This guide will help you to understand which one would suit your product innovation and how to achieve the result.
Sterolithography (SLA) is one of the oldest types of 3D printing, its versatility has kept it in use since its introduction. The SLA printer forms the product by a laser layering process, resulting in a smoother finish without the need for a support shell. Lasers trace cross sections of the liquid resin hardening the form layer by layer dropping the platform as it progresses. As can be seen in this video.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) forms the prototype structure in a layering system similar to SLS. It forms the product by lasering the outline onto a series of nylon powder layers. As it is building the prototype it is encased in the unused nylon powder which acts as a support system resulting in more complex structures, that do not have an internal support system.
Fused Deposition Modelling alternatively uses a plastic filament to form the prototype. Currently the two main types of filament used within the printers are Polylatic Acid (PLA) – which can be a plant based plastic and Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The process uses a nozzle to project the shape, layering it up to form the product which cools and hardens for a finished product.
If you would like to know more about producing your innovation project including prototyping please email ati@plymouth.ac.uk for more information.

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