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Box Proto – Direct ENG

Direct Printing (or DP) is a rapid prototyping technique that allows the construction of parts by the selective addition of the material the object is made of. This technique is divided into various subgroups according to the methods used to bind the material (Sintering, Wire Deposition; Lamination). The thing that all these techniques have in common is that they create a model of the part without having the manipulate the 3D In fact, in the case of Direct Printing, the 3D model can also be an STL file (a tessellated triangular model). The only manipulation that may be required is the disassembling of the larger parts of the construction machine into a suitable number of sub-parts that will then be interlocked and joined to each other.
All the Direct Printing techniques generate approximate models, defined as 2.5D, and are achieved by the joining of a very tight-knit series of medium sized sections (the sections can vary in width from 50 µm, for jewellery, to 0.2 mm for mechanics). The realisation time, and therefore the cost, is directly proportional to the number of sections that require printing in order to realise the entire object.

SINTERING is a rapid prototyping technique that processes granulated powder construction materials using laser sources to bind the granules to form solid shapes (but not completely compact due to the residual spaces between the granules that have not completely dissolved). To achieve the desired compactness and guarantee hydraulic tightness, the parts realised using this technique must be infiltrated or impregnated.

We have at our disposal:

  • Plastics sintering machines with a work range of 330 x 330 x 600 mm (h) ideal for the realisation of finely detailed and very inexpensive plastic prototypes.
  • Sintering machines with a work range of 700 x 580 x 380 mm (h) ideal for the realisation of large sized high resistance plastic prototypes.

Thanks to specific structural assembling and gluing strategies, our plastic sintered products have no actual dimensional limits. In fact, very large objects can be disassembled into sub-parts which are already fitted with mechanical couplings (such as dovetails) and reassembled using structural epoxy powders and finished off with fibre glass mesh so as to guarantee higher resistance in the cutting zone and prevent it from becoming a weak point. Such strategies guarantee optimisation of timing and costs in addition to optimising the intrinsic deformations in the machining of thermoplastics.

Metal sintering machines for micro-mechanical objects, ideal for producing complex objects, with sub-set squares and cavities, directly in metal. The materials that can be machined are as follows:

  • Aluminium;
  • Carbon steel;
  • Steel for dies;
  • Stainless steel;
  • Titanium.

This is a high definition process, with settings from 0.02 0.04 to 0.05 mm. The most resolute processes produce objects which show almost no signs of stratification and an exceptionally high level of surface finish. However, the high number of cycles needed to realise the maximum height of the object, have a negative impact on costs which are often optimised by compromising on the level of definition.

To explain this aspect better, below are some images of typical sintered finishes that highlight the grain related to the original powder and the definition of the “construction layer”.

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Sintered PA
Object measuring 150x70x60 mm

Sintered PA-AL
Object with D = 35 mm

Sintered metal aluminium
Object measuring 100x70x16 mm

NB: the visual effect related to the actual texture of the construction techniques can improve the visual effect reproduced on wide objects characterised by soft surfaces with tangential angles of over 15 degrees. Very small objects or those with tangential angles of between 1 and 9 degrees, can give the impression of having lower quality resolution (as shown in the first photo).