UK-based service bureau highlights simultaneous multi-part 3D printing
Industrial Plastic Fabrications (IPF) bought its first Objet 3D printer four years ago, and now the company has 360 customers. Today, IPF offers a range of machining and fabricating services using varied technologies, but all its rapid prototyping/3D printing work is produced by its two Objet 3D printers – an Objet Connex500 multi-material 3D Printer for printing parts and assemblies made of multiple different materials on the same print job and for simultaneously printing of multiple different, multi-material parts; and an Objet Eden350V Professional 3D Printer.
“With Objet, we can turn models around quickly, efficiently and with consistency,” said Gary Miller, Head of 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping at IPF. “And our clients like it that they can get a very clear idea of their final product, due to the high accuracy and the model quality and the combination of different materials in a single model.”
According to Miller, the results are nothing short of amazing. When Miller showed a customer a bicycle chain with interlocking, moveable pieces that had been printed in a single run on the Objet Connex multi-material 3D printer, the customer immediately asked how long it took to assemble. Miller told him: “There’s no assembly. It’s printed in one go; you clean it and then you can move it.”
Being able to simultaneously print numerous multi-material parts made of different material properties is highly valuable to IPF. Miller said: “We can print parts that are 40 Shore, 50 Shore, 95 Shore, rigid and flexible parts – all in one go. Four or five customers can want models with different materials and we can print them on the bed at the same time, thanks to Objet’s unique multi-material Connex technology.”
Much of the 3D printing work at IPF takes place overnight or over the weekend, completely unattended. Before leaving the office in the evening, the operator simply sets the Objet 3D printers to start printing; the next morning, he comes into work, cleans the finished parts, and the parts are ready to be shipped out to customers by the end of day. And it happens day after day, week after week.
“We can’t afford for our printers to be down at all,” says Miller. “Objet 3D printers are very reliable machines and the only reason we’ve reinvested in Objet is because the service and support when it’s been needed has been phenomenal.”
Industrial Plastic Fabrications Ltd.