4 New Capabilities at Protolabs

Posted On April 13, 2017 By Protolabs

The crew at Protoworks (our R&D program) has been busy. Every day they’re pushing the boundaries to advance new rapid manufacturing processes and materials and expand your design possibilities.

We just rolled out a few new capabilities that we’re excited to share.

LSR manufacturing facility
A look inside our liquid silicone rubber manufacturing facility.
2 is better than 1: Overmolding

Overmolding expands on our injection molding offering. At Protolabs, it’s a multi-step process where we mold a substrate part and place it into a second mold, which then molds another material onto the substrate. It’s called pick-n-place molding.

Overmolding can aid in dampening vibration, improving grip as well as two-color aesthetics. We are still in the beta testing phase of our overmolding process, but it’s open to everyone.

Visit our overmolding page for design guidelines or to submit a request for parts.

Extra-strength machined parts: titanium

You asked. We listened. Our CNC machines can now mill and turn parts from titanium. With an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, titanium is most suitable for applications in aerospace, medical and other industries where high performance is critical.

5-axis milling
5-axis milling can handle more complex designs.
More machining possibilities: 5-axis milling

Titanium isn’t the only upgrade to our CNC machining service — we’ve also added 5-axis milling functionality. You can now design more complex geometries for machining including non-orthogonal features like off-axis holes. The enhanced functionality will also lead to better finishes on parts with non-orthogonal surfaces. And, this all results in more efficient machining, which means lower costs for you.

Fuel-grade liquid silicone rubber: fluorosilicone

Our injection molding material selection has expanded to include fluorosilicone. This is the go-to material for any part that will be exposed to or immersed in fuel, oil or solvents. In comparison to our other liquid silicone materials, fluorosilicone can withstand a wide temperature range from -68°C to 200°C. Check out our materials page to learn more about fluorosilicone and other liquid silicone rubber materials.