New Prototyping Tool

New Prototyping Tool

We've used external houses in the past to produce 3D printed plastics for various projects, from specialised brackets to custom shaped enclosures to waterproof housings.  That works fine when you know exactly what you want!  We decided that having a printer on-site would be a useful tool and would allow us to experiment more e.g. try out a set of thicknesses to make the optimum spring clip.  It's not all roses of course - you find out there is quite a learning curve of settings ( and there are a lot of them ) to match the material being used and the qualities required for the print.  Of course material selection is yet another variable.

We've pretty much mastered the art and are  confident producing items for specific tasks.

One of the most important things we've learned is that getting the print to stick well to the build plate is vital.  For PLA we've found Staples' own brand glue stick is the best ( you might prefer German-sounding brands for paper, but we discovered they dry too quickly ); for next-gen CPA materials a plasticised blue painters' tape works and for yet  others a non-plasticised tape performs better.  The main issue about all of these adhesives is to ensure they can stand the temperature of the heated bed.

Another tip we learned: you can stick together parts using Gorilla glue - no apologies for the product plug - where typically adhesives perform poorly with plastics this stuff does the job.