Rapid Tooling Process

The SLS™ LaserForm A6 rapid tooling process from Bastech, Inc. (Vandalia, IL) is a fully automated process in which tool inserts are created by laser sintering an A6 tool steel based powder mixed with a binder which is then infiltrated with bronze (36 percent). The result is a fully dense steel/bronze part or tool.

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The SLS™ LaserForm A6 rapid tooling process from Bastech, Inc. (Vandalia, IL) is a fully automated process in which tool inserts are created by laser sintering an A6 tool steel based powder mixed with a binder which is then infiltrated with bronze (36 percent). The result is a fully dense steel/bronze part or tool. This material is ideal for complex toolmaking and metal parts production, as well as rapid prototype working parts. Using 3D Systems’ selective laser sintering (SLS) process, the material can be used to produce parts and tools that are highly accurate and have superior strength and durability over aluminum. Features and include: design flexibility, outstanding surface finish; excellent machinability; increased thermal conductivity (almost twice that of most steels) and 20 to 40 percent faster molding cycles for increased productivity and capacity; superior production tooling hardness (as high as HRc=20 or heat treated to HRc=39 for added wear resistance). The surface can also be coated for even higher surface hardness. This tooling can produce highly complex geometries and features that are difficult to manufacture using other technologies. The process incorporates features such as conformal cooling or heating channels into the tool design to improve molding cycle times and save costs.