FOCUS ON EQUIPMENT
Desktop System Offers Various Finishes for Plastic Prototypes
A desktop modeling system produces high-quality plastic prototypes based on 3-D CAD software. Models can be sanded, painted, drilled, metal plated, or glued. With a build area of 9 × 6¾ × 8 in., the V-Flash modeler can build multiple models simultaneously without significant impact to the z-height build speed. The unit’s overall size is 26 × 27 × 31 in. Created using film transfer imaging (FTI) technology, the system’s prototypes can be used for proof of concept, functional testing, form and fit verification, and product mock-ups. FTI uses a self-contained cartridge that consumes two to three times less material than other 3-D modeling and printing technologies, according to the supplier.
3D Systems Inc., Rock Hill, SC
Abrasive Water-Jet System Cuts Multiple Stock Parts
Designed to quickly and accurately cut multiple stock parts, a precision abrasive water-jet system can be used for medical device prototyping. The 2652 JetMachining Center offers quick turnaround for prototype development and short-run production. It can blank out surgical instruments from special steel alloys, cut artificial limb components from carbon-fiber composites, and cut thin plastic case dividers that hold medical instruments in place during the sterilization processes. The system can machine small- to medium-sized complex flat parts from preexisting CAD drawings or DMX files. Without requiring tool changes, it can accommodate a range of materials, including titanium and stainless steel. It also comes standard with Intelli-Max software.
Omax Corp., Kent, WA
Microgrinding System Produces Prototypes in Minutes
Cardiovascular and neurological devices can be fabricated in minutes using a microgrinding system. Employing linear motors to position the part against the grinding wheel, the CAM.2 system can produce threads, flats, tapers, hexagons, and other shapes from nitinol or stainless steel. The linear motors enable the machine to maintain complete control over the x and y axes while it shapes parts. Because it is a grinding machine, the system can form these parts to as small as 0.0005 in. diam. Designed to reduce turnaround times for device development, the machine allows operators to enter parts specifications into an intuitive control interface.
Glebar Company, Inc., Franklin Lakes, NJ
3-D Printers Create Color Models
Using ink-jet printing technology, a line of full-color 3-D printers quickly produces prototypes from CAD drawings and digital data, enabling device designers to evaluate physical models of design concepts in their nearly finished state. The ZPrinter Models 310 Plus and 450 and the Spectrum Z510 produce rapid prototypes in multiple colors at a rate of two to four layers per minute. Competing 3-D printers print only one color at a time and require the user to assemble monochrome parts into a design that resembles a full-color model, according to the supplier. The machines can be used to fabricate concept models, functional prototypes, and mold inserts and patterns for metal casting. Able to handle high-performance composite, direct-casting, and elastomeric materials, the printers can build multiple models simultaneously to increase throughput. Users can add detailed features to prototypes, including part numbers, design comments, and logos.
Z Corp., Burlington, MA