3D printing is used to produce prototypes and/or low production parts without the time or expense of tooling. This allows engineers and designers to quickly get their hands on actual parts to prove out and test a design for form and fit before committing to expensive tooling. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes to produce a solid three dimensional object of virtually any shape from a digital model.
At Asheville Thermoform Plastics, we use a Dimension 1200es Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3-D printer. Our printer can produce parts up to 10″ x 10″ x 12″ with a precision of ±.005″ and a resolution or layer thickness of .010″ or .013″. The parts are printed using an ABS/PC blend material. The ABS/PC blend is a thermoplastic material that is available in a multiple of colors and has excellent strength and impact specifications:
- Tensile Strength 5,300 psi
- Elongation Strength 3.0%
- Flexural Stress 7600 psi
- IZOD Impact, Notched 2.0 ft-lb/in
- Heat Deflection 204° F