Rapid Prototyping    

Rapid Prototyping (Additive Manufacturing)

rapid prototyping

Rapid Prototyping (RP) technology is used to build three dimensional parts or physical models from 3D CAD data by layering material.

Formero is the largest Rapid Prototyping Service Bureau in Australia and New Zealand.  With over 18 years of experience and a committed team of prototyping experts we strive to constantly offer our customer the latest cutting edge prototyping technologies available in the market.

We utilise three leading Rapid Prototyping  technologies SLA (Stereolithography), Objet 3D Printing and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering).  These technologies are all additive manufacturing technologies which build parts layer by layer allowing for the creation of models directly from a 3D CAD file.

The biggest advantage of our Rapid Prototyping service, is the speed of delivery. Formero can supply you with a Rapid Prototype in as little as 1 day from receiving the CAD data.  

 

Unique features offered by each technology:

SLA

Produces accurate parts with complex geometries. Excellent smooth surfaces are available when premium finishes are applied.  SLA materials mimic those of several engineering thermoplastics, and can be painted, glued and lacquered to replicate the end product, or used as a pattern for secondary tooling processes. SLA can be sanded to a smooth finish, suitable for painting.  

 

Objet 3D Printing

Allows the creation of both hard and soft parts.  Multiple materials print in one build is also available.  Ideal for achieving over-moulds, inserts, keypads and other complex geometries for both soft and rigid models.  Objet also has the advantage of having a non-toxic material that is medically approved for dental, hearing aid and surgical applications.  Objet is not suitable for sanding or painting finished parts.

 

SLS

SLS - Ideal for functional, high-heat and chemical resistance applications.  SLS parts are capable of withstanding harsh test conditions, allowing full evaluation of product performance before tooling is produced.   SLS is also utilised for short-run production (Additive Manufacturing), enabling design optimisation on the fly. Surface finish is a little rough on raw parts. 

Rapid Prototyping Technology – Frequently Asked Questions

What is FDM?

FDM or Fused Deposition Modelling is a layered manufacturing process that uses a filament of actual thermoplastic that is melted and extruded through a tiny nozzle.   FDM technology is not offered to Formero’s customers due to its poor mechanical strength (as a result of material being extruded layer by layer).  For functional applications we recommend CNC Machining.

What is Rapid CNC?

Rapid CNC is Formero’s preferred choice when you require function, tight tolerances and when parts must be in a specific plastic or metal production material.  Ideal for low volume (1-20) mechanical prototypes or high visual mock-up models.  Materials available for CNC Prototyping are ABS, Acrylic, Polypropylene (PP), Polycarbonate (PC), Nylon, PU Foam and Chemical wood.

What is Objet 3D Printing

Objet patented PolyJet inkjet technology works by jetting state of the art photopolymer materials in ultra-thin layers onto a build tray layer by layer until the part is constructed.  Objet's strength is its ability to reproduce fine detail definition and it's wide range of hard and soft rubber-like materials, with a medical graded material option.  Objet's weakness is that these materials are functionally limited and not suitable for high impact or heat testing.

What is Stereolithography (SLA)

SLA is now one of the most widely used rapid prototyping techniques for plastic models.  Starting from 3D CAD, a part or model is built slice by slice from bottom to top, in a vessel of liquid polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam.  SLA produces accurate parts with complex geometries, can be sanded to a smooth finish, suitable for painting, making it ideal for Architectural models, design validation, form & fitment and as a pattern for secondary tooling.

What is Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

The SLM system uses a sophisticated and highly advanced form of ‘3D additive manufacturing’ to produce functional metal parts that are grown layer by layer from powdered metals.  Parts with free form surfaces, hollowed internal sections and light weight honeycomb structures are ideal for SLM machining.  Applications suited to medical and Dental through to Aerospace and high technology engineering and electronics sectors.

What is Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS is another technique by which parts are built layer by layer and is ideal for functional, high-heat and chemical resistance applications.  SLS is also utilised for short-run production (Additive Manufacturing), enabling design optimisation on the fly.  Formero also offers ColourFast SLS that offers a permanent surface colouring for SLS components.

DATASHEETS

Brochure

Prototyping services comparison table

CASE STUDIES

Design in Sport

  • SLA models
  • Objet 3D models
  • SLS models