Prototyping through 3D printing is an important stage in the process of product development and a mandatory step before taking your product to production. It is the best way to show what a concept will look like as a final product.

LUMA-iD uses several 3D printing techniques such as SLS, SLA, FDM and Polyjet to prototype parts with different properties depending on your needs. Whether you are focused on the visual aspect, strength or cost; we have all the tools you need to take your product from concept to creation.

Have a look at the different 3D printing techniques we use and feel free to contact us for any free advise.

SLS PRINTING

Applications: Working prototypes, Stronger parts, Architectural Models, Complex Scale models, Medical parts

✓     Smooth Surface Finish

✓     High Quality and Detail

✓     No need for supports when printing overhangs

Selective Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing process that uses a laser to solidify objects within a bed of fine Nylon powder. As each layer is melted by the laser it fuses with the previous one below, until the model is fully formed. Once the process is complete the excess powder is removed with compressed air. The typical surface finish produced is that of an Extra Strong Mint, but the object can be polished to that of a Softmint. Typically the nylon can only be printed in white, but can be dyed or painted any colour.

SLA PRINTING

Applications: Anatomical models, Large investment cast patterns, Lightweight concept models, Urethane casting patterns

✓     High resolution parts with smooth surface finish

✓     Create accurate moulds for mass-production

✓     Design flexibility

Stereolithography uses a vat of resin and Ultraviolet laser beams to build parts top to bottom. The laser beam traces a pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. This exposure to Ultraviolet light cures and solidifies the pattern and joins the material to the layer below as the build platform goes down to create to next layer. After the 3D printed part is formed, it is immersed in a chemical bath for cleaning. During SLA post-processing, supports are removed, and the part is placed in an ultraviolet oven.  Once this is complete, the part is ready for use.

FDM PRINTING

Applications: Manufacturing aids, Low volume production parts, Jigs and fixtures, Functional prototypes

✓     Can print in multiple colours and materials

✓     Can endure heat, chemicals and mechanical stress

✓     Low Cost

Fused Deposition Modelling is also an additive manufacturing process but uses an extruded thermoplastic filament to build up the layers. It uses two materials, the modelling material that constitutes the object and a support material, which acts as a form of scaffolding. They are unwound from a coil and heated to a semi-liquid state before being fed onto the build platform. After cooling any support structure is broken away, leaving the finished model.

Polyjet

Applications: Presentation models, Flexible rubber-like models, Prototypes for fittings, valves and parts with complex interior features

✓     Produce complex shapes and intricate details

✓     Produce diverse material properties and colours

✓     Produce flexible buttons and grips

PolyJet technology is similar to inkjet printing but instead of ink on paper, it jets layers of liquid photopolymer resin onto the build platform. The photopolymer is cured by an Ultraviolet lamp within the printer, creating the 3D object. PolyJet printing differs to SLA in that it builds bottom to top and jets the resin rather than curing a pattern into a vat. Where complex shapes are required, the printer jets a removable gel-like support material which is easily removed by hand or water post-print.

 

Which 3D printing method do I choose?

Deciding on your what printing method to choose can be daring. We can help you make the right decision depending on your application of choice.

CHOOSE YOUR APPLICATION

Visually
If your focus in on the visuals, choose SLS/SLA

CALCULATE PRICE

Strength
If your focus is on the strength choose FDM.

CALCULATE PRICE

Cost
If your focus in on the costing of your product choose FDM

CALCULATE PRICE

Detail
If your focus is on Small detail, precision choose Polyjet

CALCULATE PRICE

HOW TO

Find answers to your question regarding options for your 3D prototype.

Most 3D printers are only able to print objects in a single colour, but that can be any basic colour you need (specific codes are unlikely). We tend to use a grey filament for in-house printing, and for more precise SLS prototypes, white is best. It is possible to print in multiple colours, and even produce full colour prints, but these can be unnecessarily costly.

Texture quality of 3D prints varies across the formats of machines out there. They're accurate enough to test moving parts, but for presentation models, post-processing techniques like sanding and painting allow you to make your 3D printed creations look and feel like the real thing.

Yes you can - in fact this can be a secret step to producing a stunning presentation model. The secret is to prepare the surface well. Take out the striations, then sand it back until you get a stone-smooth surface. We have produced prototype 3D prints that look like injection moulded parts, it just takes time!

Chrome paint is an ideal finish to simulate metal finishes on 3D prints. To do this, prepare your surface correctly by sanding and priming. Then just use light coats, sanding back were necessary until you get a clean and even coat. Clear coat finishes can be added for an extra sheen.

CONTACT US ABOUT YOUR PROTOTYPING REQUIREMENTS

 

Phone 

+44 (0) 20 8692 2873

Office Hours

Weekdays: 9am – 5pm

Weekends: Closed