Smaller, Faster, Cheaper: Micro Prototyping for Accumold
This is part 2 of a 2 part blog series focusing on µ3DP and micro injection molding. Read part 1 here.
Micro Prototyping for Accumold
Recently, BMF produced sample parts for Aaron Johnson, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Strategy at Accumold, a leader in precision micro molding. Aaron had been involved with a study that examined a number of additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques. Examples included SLA, PolyJet, FDM, SLS and LOM as well as cast urethane, machining and rapid tooling, and rapid injection molding. For micro prototyping, none of the technologies tested could meet the study’s demands.
The part that BMF recently produced for Aaron was based on the one in the study. We performed two test runs. The first was with the microArch S140 printer. The second was with the microArch S130 printer. For each test run, the parts were scaled-down to meet the printer minimums.
“We have been following the advancements of 3D printing very closely over the years. Until recently, there has not been a rapid process that could produce micro parts, with micro features and micron tolerances that our customers expect from a prototype. We believe high-precision 3D printing like this can be very complementary to serving the needs of our customers”
– Aaron Johnson, VP of Marketing and Customer Strategy at Accumold
µ3DP and the microArch P140 3D Printer
BMF used the microArch S140 to print parts with a 60 µm wall thickness that matched the wall thickness in the study. The layer thickness was 10 µm and the material was HTL black. The part’s convex structure made it challenging to add layers, but PµSL technology handled the task and met the requirements for a micro injection molded component.
|Measured dimension (mm)|
|Sample 1||Sample 2|
Table 1: Part Details
Image 1: microArch S140 Inspection Data
µ3DP and the microArch S130 3D Printer
Next, BMF used the microArch S130 to print sample parts for Accumold. For this test run, the size of the part from the study was reduced to one-third of its original. The overall dimensions were 1.67 mm x 1.67 mm x 1.056 mm. The minimum feature is the 20 µm wall in the bottom. Removing this 3D printed part was challenging because of its small size.
Image 2: microArch S130 Inspection Data
Meeting the Requirements of Micro Molding
As industries continue to strive for smaller and cheaper parts made fast, the demand for a cost-effective method to manufacture prototypes and end-use components will continue to rise. PµSL technology provides a solution for prototyping and developing parts with high resolution and high accuracy – meeting the requirements of micro molding. As we move forward, I believe µ3DP will play a major role in this transition.
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