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Overcoming Raw Material Limitations in Selective Laser Sintering

SpecialChem / Mar 19, 2008

What discourages companies using rapid prototyping techniques? One reason is technical limitations, another is a lack of knowledge and information and a third is uncertainty about the economic benefits. Technical limitations include restricted materials properties, the low number of different materials and the stair-steps, or facets, which affect all non-orthogonal surfaces. Using thinner layers is the most obvious way of overcoming the stair-stepping problem. But reducing layer thickness can only be done at the expense of building time. A more elegant approach than making all layers thinner is to adapt the thickness of each layer to the slope of the part surface at that height, maximising each layer thickness subject to a specified maximum deviation from the nominal surface. Of course, this approach can only be applied to methods of rapid prototyping which can work with variable layer thickness within one part. One way of overcoming the materials limitations is to combine RPT with traditional manufacturing processes.

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