New Prototyping Process Reduces Time to Market

Precise, 3D-printed wax pattern masters can eliminate hand-finishing in the development of plastic or metal prototypes.

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3D printer manufacturer Solidscape and LSR’s Design have announced what they call a disruptive new prototype processes that is said to significantly speed time to market. By combining Solidscape’s high precision printing with LSR’s silicone or metal mold-making process, prototypes can be created in less than two weeks, compared tothe typical five to six weeks needed to create most new plastic or metal parts, the companies say. Watch a video of the process in action. 

The process starts on a Solidscape  printer, which is both additive and subtractive in nature. With a resolution of 5000 dpi, the machine creates printed wax patterns that do not require hand finishing. LSR, a wireless product development company, can go directly to silicon tooling or to cast metal parts without the traditional tedious hand finishing of rapid prototype parts.

“We’re excited to collaborate with LSR on this new venture and to take rapid prototyping to the next level,” said Fabio Esposito, Solidscape President. “With this new disruptive process, users can now go directly from machine to molding, expediting the time it takes to go to market.”

"We compressed our product development process considerably on a recent program. We’ve gone from weeks of machining time and $4,000 per set of metal parts, to under two days and $200. This was earth shaking for us as well our customer,” said Jim Hollister, 3D Lab Manager at LSR.

A recent case study was done for an iPhone compatible smart wearables product, where cost per unit dramatically dropped by replacing parts previously machined from brass with Solidscape’s lost wax castings. Once again, the Solidscape wax patterns created directly from digital models are put through the foundry process, providing a direct route from digital file to finished casting. Results include:

• Less finishing time than milled metal parts

• Parts fit together better, perfect tolerances

• Crisp and amazing detail

• Consistent quality on run of parts

• Less expensive, from $4,000 to under $200 per set of metal parts

• Much faster process

• Ability to make design changes without expensive tooling revisions or machining

• Ability to cast in any metal, allowing complete design flexibility

• Production worthy first articles for design review

 

Solidscape says its accuracy and Smooth Curvature Printing with wax provides micro-precision parts with intricate designs and complex geometries that are 100 percent castable. When it comes to creating prototypes, the company says its lost wax casting process allows users to reproduce layers as fine as six microns every time.

Earlier this year, Solidscape released the MAX2, a fully automated printer with an easy-to-operate touch screen that allows any skill level to effectively produce high-precision wax patterns. With higher throughput and increased productivity gains, Solidscape delivers 3D solutions for advanced manufacturing so customers can create wax patterns to be cast in metal or used for mold making (RTV) applications, ideal for industries such as aerospace, consumer products, education, and defense, industrial products, jewelry, medical and dental as well as manufacturing. Learn more at www.solid-scape.com.