Polymer printing

How it works

Powder Bed: A thin layer of plastic powder is spread across the build plate. The powder is then selectively melted using a laser or infrared light where the parts are located. The build plate then moves slightly downward and the next layer of powder is spread. The process repeats itself until the part(s) are completely formed. The loose powder is then removed from the parts and recycled to be used in the next print.

Resin: An ultraviolet light source (laser or UV lamp) is used to solidify a photopolymer resin, building the part layer by layer.

FDM: A heated extrusion nozzle moves across the build platform melting and depositing plastic where the part(s) are located. When one layer is finished, the build plate moves downw slightly, allowing the next layer to be build on top. The process repeats itself until the parts are completely formed. If a layer overhangs too far beyond the layer beneath, a soluble or breakaway support material can be used.

Printable materials

  • Nylon - PA 12 (Powder Bed)

    A general purpose printing material with good mechanical properties and chemical resistance.

  • Photopolymer (Resin)

    A material capable of very high resolution.

  • ABS (FDM)

    A general purpose printing material. A soluble support material is used for removal in hard to reach areas.

  • ASA (FDM)

    A material similar to ABS with slightly better mechanical properties and UV resistance. A soluble support material is used for removal in hard to reach areas.

  • Onyx (FDM)

    A nylon 12 base material with chopped carbon fiber for stiffness and chemical resistance

  • Onyx FR (FDM)

    Flame retardant variant of Onyx that meets UL 94 V-0 requirements

  • Onyx ESD (FDM)

    Elecrostatic dissipative variant of Onyx.

  • Onyx with continuous fiber reinforcement (FDM)

    All 3 types of Onyx can be printed with continuous Kevlar, Carbon or Glass Fiber for increased rigidity and strength

Design considerations

  • Volume Reduction

    Minimizing the material volume of a part reduces the material cost and makes the part print faster. Strategies for volume reduction include creating hollow stuctures or, if strength is a concern, our specialized software can replace large solid volumes with a lattice structure.

    Be sure to include hole(s) for uncured resin or powder to escape.

  • Minimum Wall Thickness

    SLS can print walls down to 0.8mm thickness

    MJF can print down to 0.5mm thickness

    Resin can print down to 0.2mm thickness

    FDM can print down to 1.5mm thickness

    FDM with continous fiber requires thicker walls and can be discussed on a case by case basis

  • Overhangs and Supports

    Parts are supported by the bed of surrounding loose powder that is removed after printing so any overhang angle can usually be printed without issue. Extremely deep, narrow cavities or passages inside the part can make powder removal difficult.

  • Text

    Embossed (raised) or debossed (sunken) text may be printed into parts. Small text should be in bold font if possible.