Featured Image

Nanofabrica Achieves Breakthrough in Additive Manufacturing Process

Leading micro additive manufacturing (AM) technology developer, Nanofabrica, has recently achieved enormous success trialing its process in the development of direct rapid soft tooling (DRST). The company accomplished a breakthrough which ...
Mar 23, 2020

Leading micro additive manufacturing (AM) technology developer, Nanofabrica, has recently achieved enormous success trialing its process in the development of direct rapid soft tooling (DRST). The company accomplished a breakthrough which enabled the printing of a mould that lasted 20 shots, with plans to increase this to 1000 shots in the coming months.

In its recent experiments, Nanofabrica (which can achieve ultra-precise 1 micron resolution and an excellent surface finish on its Terra 250 AM platform) succeeded in injecting PP, PE, and ABS into a 3D printed mould, which was manufactured with a new material that the company is currently developing. In the initial experiments, the moulds lasted for 20 shots with a moulding pressure of 400 bar at 230°C. It took Nanofabrica an hour to additively manufacture one mould at the cost of under $20. The materials were injected using an Arburg 35 ton machine.

The trials were initiated at the request of key industry players who were interested in assessing the time and cost savings that are inherent when producing DRST as opposed to conventional hard steel tools for injection moulding. In addition, the companies were eager to achieve the high surface finish as well as tiny features and complexity possible through the use of Nanofabrica’s AM technology which are effectively impossible using conventional machining of mould tools.

Using Nanofabrica’s Terra 250 precision AM platform to produce DRST capable of manufacturing upwards of 1000 parts per tool opens up the possibility of small and even medium batch manufacturing. This is a product of Nanofabrica’s platform that is able to accommodate the manufacture of multiple small tools in each build, and so manufacturers will be able to produce numerous replacement tools at extremely low cost.

It is usually the case that when AM produced DRST and traditional injection moulding are compared, the savings in terms of product development time and cost are seen as the most compelling benefits for using AM. However, the fact that AM is relatively agnostic to complexity means that AM produced DRST could also stimulate innovation in product design and manufacture. AM can achieve geometries impossible using conventional processes, and as such is positioned as a key enabling technology driving the production of cutting-edge products as well as shortening the product development cycle. This is because it is quite often the case that product design updates are shelved by manufacturers due to the cost of new traditional moulds.

As part of its efforts in promoting the area of AM produced DRST, Nanofabrica aims to work with a select number of companies to demonstrate the value of using DRST in the production cycle. By so doing, the company projects that numerous manufacturers will see the value and feasibility of working with its uniquely accurate micro AM technology in future production and insert mould fabrication projects.

PicturePicture
Author
Stephen LaMarca
Technology Analyst
Recent technology News
"Government Motors" back at it. France is taking off with AM. Snapdragon-powered AMRs. The machinist's handbook for 3DP. Automation for medical. Techie, here's your weekly tech report.
To be clear, this isn’t about ragging on AM. In fact, the disruption and attention generated by 3D printing made way for Pocket NC. Let me tell you about it.
Hey look! Good news! AM to rescue proper fish and chips. The Swedes developed a taste for Nashville hot. Leave warping to the space people. Nissan discontinues their USDM and EDM EV.
Planes, automobiles, and, finally, some trains. AM luxury goods. Speaking of how AM is used for luxury goods… machining goes plaid. AM’s jolly good for bicycles, innit?
Lumafield tested by Adam Savage. Roboluminescence. 3D printing robot skin. AR is making a stealthy comeback. The unsung hero of AM.
Similar News
undefined
Technology
By Travis Egan | Jan 15, 2021

2020 has been a year like no other. AMT worked hard to keep its members informed with the most important information and news in the industry and launched a news blog and weekly e-newsletter to make the information timely and actionable...

5 min
undefined
Technology
By AMT | Dec 11, 2020

Episode 39: The penultimate episode of 2020! Ben and Steve conclude winter is officially here. Stephen geeks out over a silly Subaru. Benjamin discusses the future manufacturing technology in the auto industry. Steve presents MIT’s method for...

22 min
undefined
Technology
By AMT | Nov 20, 2020

Episode 37: Ben and Stephen went shooting! Ben got stuck in traffic. Steve is excited about a child getting a million buck to put towards additive. Ben says the CDC is putting $1.5 million towards robots and mech suits. Stephen found a CNC machining...

16 min