Rapid prototyping machines builds layer upon layer

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "Rapid prototyping machines builds layer upon layer", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/aeat.2004.12776ead.004



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Rapid prototyping machines builds layer upon layer

Rapid prototyping machines builds layer upon layer

Keywords: Rapid prototyping, Machines, CADCAM

Wax carving and other time consuming processes are said to be no longer required for high precision 3D modelling and rapid prototyping, following the launch into the UK of the solidscape range of master pattern-making systems by unimatic engineers.

Solidscape's 3D wax printing systems are computer controlled office peripherals that allow designers and engineers to go directly from CAD files to investment castings or rubber mould creation. According to Unimatic they cut out the time, cost and effort of traditional techniques such as wax carving and lost wax casting, reducing time to market, development expenses and the inflexibility of older manual methods.

Furthermore, they claim the highest accuracy modelling methodology, with accuracy figures of 25 mm. It is therefore believed to be not only faster and more flexible but also more accurate.

There are two models available: the T66 which has a travel range of up to 6 in. × 6 in. (150 × 150 mm) and the larger T612 with a travel range of 12 in. × 6 in. Both create patterns in a proprietary thermoplastic, which is drop-applied in a series of layers, one on top of another. The thickness of each layer can be between 0.013 and 0.076 mm, depending on the speed of build or degree of detail required.

For creating cavities, overhangs and undercuts, a wax-type support material is deposited simultaneously (which is subsequently dissolved away), a technique which is believed to be almost completely free of breakages, chips, inaccuracies or follow-on processes.

Typically solidscape equipment is housed in the drawing office and can communicate directly with most CAD programmes. Once set-up Solidscape systems can run unattended for long periods – up to 72 h – so that productivity gains are easily achieved.

Details available from: Unimatic Engineers Ltd. Tel: +44 (0) 8922 1000; Fax: +44 (0) 20 8922 1066; Email: sales@unimatic.com; Web site: www.unimatic.com