In your prototyping repertoire, what if you could custom design your own materials for projects?
This often sought-after goal is coming closer. At least one 3D printer can print multiple materials into a single printed part — a process known as overmolding. Typically, an overmolded part seamlessly combines a rigid plastic with a rubber-like elastomer. The result is a soft-touch,
non-slip surface that has become common on power tools, toothbrushes, razors, consumer electronics, medical devices and more.
The new Connex350 is a smaller multi-material 3D printer. Its build tray size is 350 x 350 x 200 mm.
Recently, Objet introduced the Connex350™, the company’s second rapid prototyping system that lets you simultaneously print multiple materials with different mechanical and physical properties. Modeled after Objet’s Connex500™, the Connex350™ features the same technology as its predecessor but with a smaller build tray size (350 x 350 x 200 mm).
The printer uses the company’s patented PolyJet Matrix™ Technology, which yields multi-material models with detail and accuracy that closely emulate the look, feel, and function of end products. With a horizontal layer thickness of 16 microns, the surface finish is very smooth.
The printer achieves multi-material printing by jetting two distinct FullCure® photopolymer model materials in preset combinations. The dual-jet process combines these multiple materials to produce mixed parts and it allows you to create one-of-a-kind Digital Materials™ that have
pre-set, user-defined combinations of mechanical properties.
The two FullCure® model materials are jetted from designated nozzles according to location and model type, providing full control of their structure and mechanical properties.
Multi-material prototyping is useful for products such as drills, small office products, and other designs.
The combination of rubberlike, flexible material and rigid material lets you print models for a variety of applications, from coating and shock absorbers to living hinges and gaskets.
One service bureau, Vista Technologies, LLC, Vadnais Hts., Minn., uses this printer to prototype at the proof-of-concept stage as well as to check fit, form and function for manufacturability and tolerance. Because the prototypes are often used by marketing staff for focus groups and to
develop packaging, it is crucial that they operate as realistically as possible – for instance, with moving parts and flexible materials.
Before the overmolding systems, parts that required multiple materials took weeks to produce and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Now, projects can be completed in a couple of days for just a few thousand dollars.
Objet Geometries Ltd.