3D Printing opening a new world of possibilities
Donato Enterprises utilizes several 3d printers to create fixtures, gauges, and prototypes. All of the fixtures printed here can be used to speed up processes and lower the prices for our customers. We have been able to make gauges within 0.001 inches tolerance so we can properly gauge our customer’s parts. Prototypes have been used to produce working and/or nonworking tests of products that could potentially be brought to market.
We can manipulate the prints using the plastic temperature, plastic flow, retraction, speed, infill percentage, and many other variables to create faster, more accurate, and stronger prints. We have also been experimenting with different materials. While most fixtures can be made using PLA (which is a basic and standard material) we are testing the uses of things such as ABS (what LEGOs are made from), TPE (flexible filament), Nylon (more durable filament), and Polycarbonate (very strong filament). Each material is great for its own purpose.
PLA is a plastic that is made from corn and other vegetable oils which makes it fully biodegradable. PLA is a decently strong but brittle plastic. For most fixturing, PLA works perfectly. ABS is most commonly known for LEGOs. It is not as strong as PLA, however, it is not as brittle which makes it more durable. TPE is basically a printable rubber. In high-density infills, it may seem more like plastic than rubber, but it is as durable as rubber. In our tests, we attempted to smash a small cube made from TPE but even using a vise, pliers, and finally a hammer, TPE could not be effectively damaged. Nylon and Polycarbonate are almost like high-end mirrors of PLA and ABS. Polycarbonate mirrors the properties of PLA (strong yet brittle) and Nylon is like ABS (softer yet durable). Both, however, are significantly stronger and more durable than their cheaper counterparts.
Our capabilities with 3d printers can help to bring your company to the next level with prototyping and fixturing. Contact us to request a quote.