Frequently Asked Questions

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Metal

What are my options for metal prototyping?

In most instances metal prototyping is going to cost more than producing the equivalent part in plastic, so our first question would be, does it really have to be metal? We need to be confident that the application warrants the additional cost. It might be worth considering some of the interesting RP applications/materials out there, such as metal coated Stereolithography. They might be able to deliver a suitable alternative and we’d be happy to talk you through the options.

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What if I want lower volumes of high quality turned parts – can this still be price competitive?

We have recently brought on board a new local supplier who is able to provide us with high quality tooling, turning and milling services using state of the art modern CNC machinery. With their main business centring around utilising an array of lathes at their disposal, this supplier is able to produce components for a range of industries including Aerospace, Oil & Gas, and Medical in both low volume (up to 50) and high volume (100,000+) quantities, satisfying both prototype and production needs. 

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What surface finish options are available for DMLS parts?

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is one example of what are termed powder bed systems. These machines build your parts within a ‘cake’ of metallic powder that is subsequently recycled.

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CNC Machining vs Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

The most obvious difference between these processes is that CNC machining is a subtractive method and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is additive. (For the sake of this article we will refer to DMLS from EOS, however the vast majority of the information applies to all the powder bed metal sintering options). 

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How can I achieve successful CNC machined parts?

CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machining is simply, the use of computers to control machine tools. There are many benefits of using this method to manufacture or prototype parts:

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How do I prototype a Zinc Die Casting?

If zinc is the design material of choice it is almost certainly because the process is die casting. This in turn indicates a high volume component that needs good material properties.

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When should I use Metal Injection Moulding and what can it achieve?

Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) has many capabilities that are not generally recognised. The application of the technology has often been associated with high value parts made from exotic metal, as the technology becomes more readily adopted and the range of alloy powders increases, this is changing. Let’s take a look at what MIM can do…

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How do I get a metallic finish?

Metallic finishes can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on the substrate material, quantities involved and goal of the treatment. The following is a short review of the more common options commercially available.

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