As leaders in the stainless steel tube and cutting industry, one of our primary missions is to stay at the forefront of technology, offering services that benefit our customers in numerous ways. Our most recent addition to our extensive range of capabilities is 3D printing, an innovative service that can reduce costs and lead time while yielding a 3D printed prototype that provides a visual aid that can help with both the manufacturing and design process.
What is 3D Printing?
In the past 5 years, 3D printing has quickly evolved from fairly new technology to a high-demand service with applications in nearly every industrial and manufacturing industry niche. As the market expands into manufacturing the term Additive Manufacturing has become synonymous with 3D printing. There are a variety of processes that can be used for 3D printing. Some of the most common are Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) which deposits a thermoplastic that builds objects layer by layer. Stereolithography (SLA) is another method that converts liquid plastic (resin) into a solid object, this process utilizes UV light to cure the liquid resin to form the 3D Object. Other methods are Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Selective laser melting (SLM) which both utilize a laser as a power source to melt and fuse the powder to form solid 3D objects. These powders can consist of nylon, ceramics, glass, and some form of metal. This printer works from dimensions that are programmed into a computer usually from a CAD model, to be converted to a Standard Tessellation Language (STL). The resulting object can be further tooled and attached to other printed components to create an accurate prototype.
Why Choose 3D Printed Prototypes?
As new as 3D printing technology is, the resulting prototypes made with this innovative technique are impressive. Because 3D printing is based on a highly advanced computer program, the opportunity for precision is greater than some of the older methods for prototyping. For our customers, one of the most popular features of 3D printed prototypes is how quickly and accurately they can be produced. Starting with plastic, metals can be added in order to better mimic the weight of the product, giving potential customers or investors a chance to hold it in their hands and experience the product or component in a way that a 2D CAD drawing can’t.
Our 3D Printing Services at Eagle Stainless
At Eagle, we value innovation and strive to provide our customers with the technologies which will result in growth for their business and the development of their product line. We believe that time is money, and 3D printing can save both. Currently, Eagle is printing in several formats from ABS, PLA, Bronzed/ Copper Infused PLA, etc…other forms are available upon request. For more information about our 3D printing services, or how a 3D printed prototype could benefit your application, contact us today!