Rapid Prototypes you can use

Rutland Plastics answers some of the most commonly asked questions about rapid prototypes.

Q) Can 3D printers produce realistic prototypes? A) There are a number of different prototyping methods using 3D printers but the functionality of the parts produced varies greatly. Rutland Plastics has an Objet Connex 350 – one of a range of the world's only 3D printers capable of printing using multiple materials. You are able to get high resolution prototypes with smooth surfaces and fine details. The finished prototype parts can be painted, machined, drilled or chrome plated. Rapid prototypes produced using this method are as close as you can get to the final plastic injection moulded part so form, fit and function can be accurately assessed. Q) What materials are available? A) The ability to combine two different prototyping materials in varying proportions means that a wide variety of different grades of polymer can be simulated. Combinations can be made up of rigid materials, flexible materials and any combination with transparent material. It is also possible to produce prototypes using a combination of black and white materials to create a range of grey scales. In total there is the option of choosing from more than 50 materials with varying mechanical properties simulating ABS, Polypropylene and 11 different variations on the rubber shore scale. A high temperature grade is also available capable of withstanding temperatures up to 90C. Q) What is the maximum size of prototype that can be printed? A) The maximum build size of any part from this particular printer is 342mm x 342mm x 200mm although larger prototypes are possible by joining two or more smaller prototypes. Q) I have an assembly, do I need several prototypes to be printed? A) Traditional prototyping can be expensive. With this system, parts and assemblies can be made from multiple materials, with different mechanical properties, in a single build. Gaskets and seals, for example, can be produced individually or integrated with the main part. Testing prototypes from Rutland Plastics gives you confidence in the final design before investing in an injection mould tool.