Compression Moulding produces rubber components in a tool through heat and pressure.
3D printing is quick and combines a degree of accuracy that satisfies most design requirements with a huge range of materials. Numerous prototype iterations can be produced together or sequentially, providing visual and tactile feedback and enhancing the design process.
Plunkett Associates has access to PolyJet technology which can be used to produce plastic components, at 16 or 30 micron layers, offering a high resolution and hence good quality surface finish when compared to many of the alternative processes.
The materials have been christened digital materials, as they can be combined during the process to create a staggering variety. Fundamentally they are acrylic based but as with many additive processes are usually described as ‘abs like’ or ‘polypropylene like’. Flexible materials down to 30 Shore A can be produced and, best of all; can be built simultaneously with the hard materials to create prototype overmoulded products.
As a result, Plunkett Associates can offer one of the fastest ways to prototype flexible parts, the only downside being that they cannot be dressed to remove the layering form the build process.
Clear parts can also be produced, but as with other processes will require some dressing to achieve optimum clarity. Subsequent UV exposure does tend to improve clarity rather than inducing a yellowing that can happen with other processes.
The largest machine available has a build envelope of 1000 x 800 x 500 mm, although the more commonly available platforms are 500 x 400 x 200mm.
If you are unsure as to which process is right for your requirements, or would like to have some 3D printed parts produced, Plunkett Associates can help.
For further information please see our articles, 'What is the difference between Polyjet and Fused Deposition Modelling?' and 'What are the material options for Fused Deposition Modelling?'
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