Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Components and structures are built-up layer-by-layer through a computer controlled processes.

Additive Manufacturing is a generic term encompassing 3D Printing, Stereolithograpghy (SLA), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) for metals.

SLA (Stereolithography) involves using lasers to accurately cure successive thin slices of the finished component within a vat of liquid UV curable resin. Where the laser light strikes the liquid, it is converted to a solid. Once each layer slice is completed the part mounted on a platform within the liquid is indexed down a preset distance and the process of building up the next layer is started.The process repeats until the part is fully formed. Once completed the machine platform rises allowing excess resin to drain away before the component is removed from the platform. The component is then washed and any supporting structures (programmed in to assist manufacture) are manually removed.

See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UKk-JMZMEvs

FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) is similar to SLA in that a part is built up layer-by-layer on a platform which is lowered and the next layer is applied. The difference here is instead of being in a vat of UV curable liquid, the part is made through heating, extruding and placing a polymer filament in a semi-liquid state in ultra-fine beads along pre-programmed paths to form the desired shape for each layer. The process unlike SLA allows more than one material to be deposited (SLA's are restricted to the polymer in the vat) and this can be used for sacraficial support materials or to tailor the engineering properties of the component.

See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1P8dB3P0iY8#t=0m32s

3D Printing is similar to inkjet printing, but instead of jetting drops of ink you jet layers of curable liquid photopolymer and parts are made by drop-on-drop build-up.

3D printing is similar to inkjet printing, but instead of jetting drops of ink onto paper, the PolyJet 3D Printers jet layers of curable liquid photopolymer - See more at: http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/technologies/polyjet-technology#sthash.fqO0v1nZ.dpuf
3D printing is similar to inkjet printing, but instead of jetting drops of ink onto paper, the PolyJet 3D Printers jet layers of curable liquid photopolymer - See more at: http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/technologies/polyjet-technology#sthash.fqO0v1nZ.dpuf

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Companies

CompanyLocation
LPE LtdBelfast
Munster Simms Engineering Ltd (Whale)Bangor