About 3D Printing
3D printing is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that creates a physical object from a digital design. The process works by laying down thin layers of material and then fusing the layers to form a three-dimensional object.
Not every part is suitable for 3D printing, however we can analyse and assess every part that qualifies for AM production and advise on the most suitable technology to fulfil the requirements. If you have an application you would like us to look at, please feel free to get in contact.
3D printing services & technologies
Powder Bed Fusion – PBF
The powder bed fusion (PBF) process encompasses direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), electron beam melting (EBM), selective heat sintering (SHS), selective laser melting (SLM) and selective laser sintering (SLS).
The PBF process involves the spreading of powder material over previous layers. There are different mechanisms to enable this, including a roller or a blade – a hopper or a reservoir near the bed provides fresh material supply. DMLS is the same as SLS, however it uses metals instead of plastics. The process sinters the powder, layer by layer. Selective heat sintering differs from other processes by way of using a heated thermal print head to fuse powder material together. As before, layers are added with a roller in between the fusion of layers. As each layer is added and fused to create the 3D metal component, the platform lowers the model accordingly.
Powder bed fusion methods use either a laser or electron beam to melt and fuse the material powder together. Electron beam melting methods require a vacuum and can be used with metals and alloys in the creation of functional parts.
Powder bed fusion process is just one of the ways in which we provide 3D printing services to the local Perth and global industries. Contact us to find out more.
Material extrusion – FDM
Material extrusion 3D printing services and technology uses a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material as a base material. The filament is fed from a coil, through a moving heated printer extruder head (extruder). The molten material is forced out of the extruder’s nozzle and is anchored onto a 3D printing platform, which can be heated for extra adhesion.
A wide variety of materials can be extruded, the most popular being thermoplastics, such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), PolyLactic Acid (PLA), High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (TPU), aliphatic PolyAmides (PA, also known as Nylon), and used more recently, high performance plastics such as PolyEther Ether Ketone (PEEK) or PolyEtherimide (PEI). If you are interested in our 3D printing services through high- temperature plastics, don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Aurora team.
Multi Jet Fusion – MJF
Multi jet fusion 3D technology builds parts by laying down a thin layer of powder on a print bed over and over before an inkjet array in the print carriage sweeps over the print bed, jetting two agents down. One being a fusing agent and the other is a detailing agent that is used to reduce fusing near the contours of a part to achieve greater detail.
Direct Energy Deposition – DED
Directed energy deposition (DED) is a 3D printing service we offer, using the method of a focused energy source, such as an electron beam, laser or arc (PAW, GTAW, TIG) to melt material in powder or wire form which is simultaneously deposited by a nozzle. As with other additive manufacturing processes, DED systems can be used to add material to existing components, for repairs, or occasionally to build new parts.
DED allows near net shape production of relatively large parts with minimal tooling.
Binder jetting is an additive manufacturing process in which an industrial printhead selectively deposits a liquid binding agent onto a thin layer of powder particles — either metal, sand, ceramics, or composites — to build high-value and one-of-a-kind parts and tooling. The process is repeated layer by layer, using a map from a digital design file, until the object is complete. Binder jetting has the advantage of high speeds and material flexibility, however the process requires a furnace to remove the binding agent.
Stereolithography – SLA
Stereolithography (SLA), or resin 3D printing, is widely used for its ability to produce highly accurate prototypes and parts in a range of materials. Stereolithography belongs to a family of AM technologies known as vat photopolymerisation, otherwise known as resin 3D printing. These machines are all built around the same principle which uses a light source—a laser or projector—to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic. The main difference between the various technologies surrounds the arrangement of the main components like the resin tank or light source.
Selective Laser Sintering – SLS
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a commonly used powder-based additive technology to create models, prototypes and end-use parts in durable, engineering-grade thermoplastics.
SLS uses a recoater to spread a thin layer of powder over the build volume. A laser sinters the cross-section of the part to fuse the powder together. The z axis then drops one layer and the process begins again until the build is complete. Parts are then excavated from the build powder-cake so the excess powder can be removed. The unused powder in the build envelope acts as the support structures which eliminates the need to remove supports after the build process. This process has considerable advantages over FDM as there is often very little redesign required. To find out more about our SLS 3D printing services, get in touch.
Cold spray is an additive manufacturing technique that deposits powder particles in the solid state by accelerating them towards a surface within a supersonic gas flow. Cold spray can be used to coat a variety of materials (metals, glass, ceramics, polymers). This technology is mainly focused on the build of large components and is widely used for repair of worn or damaged metal components.