3D printing deserves an in-depth look. Whether it’s determining the right 3D printing process, selecting the right material or understanding design considerations, there’s a lot to think about.
Eric Utley, 3D printing application engineer
We’re kicking off a series of 3D printing webinars with each session focusing on one process so we can really take a close look at what makes each process unique.
Eric Utley, 3D printing application engineer at Proto Labs, will share:
- An overview of stereolithography
- Material options and recommended applications
- Design tips to improve surface finish, reduce cost and other benefits
After the presentation, you’ll be able to ask Eric any questions you have in an open Q&A session.
TITLE: Designing for 3D Printing: Stereolithography
DATE: June 23 at 1 p.m. CDT
REGISTER: Click here to register and attend
Even if you can’t make it, you can still register and we’ll send you a recording and you can watch it on-demand.Also, feel free to forward this invite to your colleagues.
Last week we hosted a quick webinar that explored how designers can use ProtoQuote to improve the manufacturability of their design. It’s available on-demand here.
- How to get free design for manufacturability feedback for your part
- Improving manufacturability by adding draft, adjusting wall thickness and incorporating radii
- How to navigate ProtoQuote for each of our processes: 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding
Top Questions Asked
Will Proto Labs help simplify my CAD file?
Yes, along with our automated DFM feedback, we have a full staff of engineers that will work with you on simplifying your design. Once you upload a 3D CAD file, they will look at it and explore ways of improving overall manufacturability and provide guidance based on your part’s requirements and intended application.
Are there any general design tips to avoid parts having side-pulls or side-actions?
Our free design cube shows the different side-actions that we use to produce parts. And, if you have snap features on your part that might require side-actions, you can cut away that geometry and use a pass-through core to alleviate the need for a side-pull or cam.
We also have resources that discuss implementing side-actions, as well as eliminating the need for them:
What are the material options for opaque materials for lighting applications?
We offer polycarbonate materials that provide transparent options for lighting and other applications requiring transparent materials. We provide multiple PC colors: amber, green, blue, transparent and even infrared.
Look for additional technical webinars throughout the year on various 3D printing, CNC machining or injection molding topics. The next webinar will be part one in a series of 3D printing webinars and we’ll discuss designing for stereolithography.
Eric Utley, application specialist at Proto Labs.
We’ve been 3D printing for a while now, and our facility in Raleigh, North Carolina is packed with 3D printing specialists. For this installment of our Q&A, we spoke with one of those experts, Eric Utley, application specialist, for a chat about stereolithography and why product designers and engineers need it for prototyping.
To start off, can you give a quick overview of the stereolithography (SL) process?
Stereolithography uses UV light shot from a laser to cure a liquid thermoset resin called a photopolymer. In fact, even though 3D printing is often thought of as a new technology, SL has been around since the 1980s. But there’s a reason it has stuck around for so long — it has some key features that product designers need for prototypes.
What are some of those key features unique to SL?
I’d say the most important feature is that it creates a very high-resolution part with excellent surface finishes.
It can handle micro-sized features so it’s most suitable for parts that have a high level of detail. Most SL parts will have a nice, smooth finish and, although it’s typically used for prototyping, it leaves you with the feel of a final part — and looks go along way when sharing your new product design.
Another important benefit of SL is that it’s our most flexible process in terms of geometry it can handle, which gives designers a lot of freedom to work with.
The automotive and medical industries are on display this week at a couple of high-profile trade shows:
We’ll be at SAE World Congress running today through Thursday at the COBO Center in Detroit. Find us at booth #1335 to talk with a customer service engineer about how quick-turn 3D printing, machining and injection molding are well-suited for automotive prototyping.
In Boston, we’ll be talking device development and prototyping in booth #304 at BIOMEDevice, taking place at the Boston Convention Center tomorrow and Thursday. Get a free Expo Hall pass with code: invite.
A CAPACITY FOR GROWTH
Proto Labs started in 1999 in a garage in Long Lake, Minnesota with a single injection molding press. At last count, we’re at more than 600 machines: roughly 400 CNC mills, 150 presses and 50 3D printers.
Injection molding presses line Proto Labs’ production floor.
We currently serve more than 160 countries (out of 195) on six continents.
Psst. You can get up to 10,000 injection-molded parts with aluminum tooling at Proto Labs, but there’s a good chance we’ll be able to produce part runs well beyond that depending on material and geometry. Just sayin’.
A part built by stereolithography, a 3D printing process we added in 2014.
Up until 2014, we had two manufacturing processes: plastic injection molding and CNC milling. By the end of 2015, we’ll have added another EIGHT: three 3D printing processes (stereolithography, selective laser sintering, direct metal laser sintering), CNC turning and injection molding processes for steel, magnesium, liquid silicone rubber and one in the pipeline. It has been a busy two years.
The total amount of computing muscle at Proto Labs. What’s a TFLOP? One TFLOP equals a trillion floating point operations per second.