Design for Industrial Additive Manufacturing: Eliminating Support Structures

Design for Additive Manufacturing

Optimizing designs is a crucial skill to create manufacturing efficiencies. To get the most out of your additive manufacturing system, or the least in terms of time and material, you need to understand the nuances of your 3D printer and how design for additive manufacturing differs from design for other manufacturing technologies. Once you do, it’s easy to tweak designs in a way that helps meet your productivity goals.

If you’re working on increasing efficiency in your manufacturing processes you probably already have a goal in mind. It’s likely a high-level goal like total productivity or operational costs. Here we’re going to help save you time and money to meet those high-level goals with a few design tips to print faster, save material, and reduce post-processing by eliminating support structures from your designs.

We often use designs that were originally created for traditional manufacturing technologies, like injection moulding, and apply them to newer technologies. If you instead consider the strengths and weaknesses of additive manufacturing and redesign accordingly, it’s easy to optimize your production.

How to Design for Large-Format (Part 1): Saving Material on Industrial Parts - BigRep Academy

Orientation

If you’re trying to reduce the support materials for your part, overhangs will probably be your first concern. Overhangs can often be reduced or eliminated by simply reorienting a design in your slicer. If you can’t just turn the design as it is, consider whether you can redesign your part so its base structure will support its overhangs more effectively.

Take this hand jig designed by BigRep, for example. It’s an alignment tool for automotive manufacturing processes that doesn’t require significant force. Ordinarily, the handle for this kind of fixture would have three faces with the two that are protruding from the base at 90-degree angles. Since an especially firm grip isn’t required, we limited the handle to two faces and protruded them at 45-degree angles – an overhang angle favorable to most FFF materials. In doing this, we sacrificed some of the handle’s empty space but saved significantly on material – both in terms of support material and the part itself.

If such an acute angle won’t work for your design’s overhang, consider changing the material you use. While BigRep’s PLA and PRO HT both work best with 45-degree overhangs, our engineering-grade materials are often suitable for harsher angles - like HI TEMP which can effectively print overhangs at angles of up to 65-degrees.

Chamfering

Sometimes reducing the faces on your design isn’t possible, so you can always try chamfering between the overhang’s outmost edge and base object. A “chamfering” is the transitional edge between two sides of an object, usually a 45-degree angle between two right-angle surfaces. It’s an easy process that most CAD software provides automated tools to accomplish. By chamfering your design, you can remove sharp angled overhangs, reducing them to manageable angles that your printer and material process can handle.

Structural Support

If you can’t change the angles on your design, or need to apply more than one design strategy, you can forgo wasteful slicer-generated support structures and design them yourself. In our hand jig we added “fins” as structural supports for the overhangs needed to form a handle.

Support fins are thin overhang tracings used to reinforce your design. You can see in our hand jig that we completely outlined the gap for our handle – even on the object’s base – to ensure it prints successfully without adding support structures. Fins trade some of what would be empty space in your design, so it’s important to make sure that enough room is left for the part’s intended use, but can save lots of support material and serve to strengthen your part’s extremities.

Internal Channels

Small internal channels won’t usually need additional support since FFF printers can easily handle a circular gap. However, there are some use cases where internal channels are too large to print without added support – especially in industrial applications where air or liquid flow might be important to your design. In the unusual case that an internal channel requires supports, they can be very difficult to remove without a water-soluble support material used on a dual-extrusion 3D printer, if not impossible.

To solve this tricky problem, don’t limit yourself to circular internal channels. The common circular shape for internal channels seems like common sense, but it’s just one of those holdovers from traditional manufacturing when drilling was the easiest way to form a channel. To design for additive manufacturing, you can easily change your channel’s shape to print better. Usually a teardrop shape, with the point at the top, is preferred to keep all angles at 45-degrees and easily printable. Don’t limit yourself, though. If you’re still finding supports necessary in your internal channels take a closer look at the weak points and experiment with the channel’s shape to find one that suits your needs.

Conclusion

There are a lot of different ways you can optimize your designs to reduce or entirely remove support structures. By doing so, you can minimize post-processing, save material, and print your parts faster. Don’t be afraid to redesign features that we might take for granted. Remember that design lags behind production technology, so question the necessity of any inefficiencies in your designs and consider how they might be optimized with the advanced tools now at your disposal.

You can always find some inspiration by seeing how the experts tackle this change. Check out our free case study, How Airbus Manufactures Shipping Cases In-House with Large-Format Additive, to learn how Airbus, SAS reinvented shipping case design with additive manufacturing.



Find out how industry leaders are using BigRep 3D printers to create affordable and secure investment shipping containers on demand for sensitive aerospace equipment in our case study with Airbus:
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Integrating CAD and Additive Learning into General Education

Digital design and manufacturing has become increasingly relevant in a, sometimes surprisingly, eclectic mix of industries. In dentistry, fashion, manufacturing itself or any other of the plethora of industries that have evolved with the integration of 3D printing, it’s apparent that an understanding of additive manufacturing and the skills to create 3D printable designs in CAD software are now a necessity.

It's important, then, as industries increasingly depend on digital design that students are given the opportunity to learn this crucial aspect of many industries as they study.


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Enterprising educators are already getting ahead of the curve. At TH Wildau – Wildau, Germany’s Technical University of Applied Sciences – instructors have developed structures to teach non-technical students the fundamentals of CAD and additive manufacturing. They secure students’ understanding of what has become a cornerstone in many industries at a crucial time in their education. Under the instruction of teachers like Dr. Dana Mietzner, students from disciplines as broad as business management, law, and business informatics learn about CAD and additive manufacturing processes in detail.

“Students start to think about future fields of application of 3D technology,” Mietzner said. “They try to figure out what the status of the technology is today and what could be future fields of application. For that purpose, it’s very important for the students to understand the technology – how it works and what is behind the concept of 3D printing.”

3D Printing Education - the Vinn:Lab at TH Wildau

Understanding 3D printing as a physical process is incredibly important to learning CAD software. Designers using CAD need to understand what the various kinds of 3D printers are physically capable of to ensure that even the complex geometries, achievable only with additive, are designed with best practices in mind for an optimal outcome. This kind of understanding can inform designers about which method of additive manufacturing they should use for an application, like deciding between FFF and SLA technologies for an application, or when it might be better to opt for traditional reductive methods like CNC instead.

Not only will understanding the best production method for a CAD model help in designing processes, creating a design that’s conducive to successful printing, but it will help future business leaders in the disciplines Dr. Mietzner teaches understand when a process can be done with more cost and time efficiency. For example, introducing additive in favor of traditional supply chains can drastically alter how a business chooses to source parts. As more businesses move to additive manufacturing to produce end-use parts, this is increasingly important.

There’s a wealth of other disruptions additive manufacturing is causing to traditional business models and it’s vital for future leaders to understand these implications to make choices for their success. Accessible manufacturing is enabling businesses with smaller financial backing to enter production without massive investment, highly personalized products can enter the market without prohibitive price tags, and traditional workflows are being optimized with 3D printed tooling.

Clearly, it’s paramount to the future of successful businesses that there is a healthy understanding of the additive process, and therefore CAD, in a wealth of disciplines.


Learn the benefits of Large-Format Additive with our
Guide to Integrate Large-Format Additive Manufacturing.

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As industries continue to evolve additive manufacturing is becoming more pervasive, making many niche applications require very specific expertise. The boom of 3d printing within the medical field serves as an excellent example of this. The medical industry was an early adopter of additive manufacturing, leveraging SLA long before it was an accessible technology. Today, a plethora of companies are racing to develop 3D printable replacement body parts as intricate as organs. To achieve such a novel goal, the initial model’s designer would not only need extensive practice with CAD software but also with anatomical design, likely benefitting from a background as a medical practitioner or as a medical illustrator.

While less demanding artistically than the design of anatomically correct organs, a common use of mainstream FFF additive technology is the design and creation of highly customizable orthopedics. Here, an extensive background in kinesiology is a must-have for any designer creating the model. For a brace to be effective, extensive knowledge of the part of the body being mended is completely necessary – form the position that best aids the healing process to the potential risks of an incorrect placement.

Without experience in additive manufacturing and CAD software, the design of these products would require extensive extra steps and risks design instructions being lost in translation.

A plethora of prominent institutions have developed prototyping-focus’ within their courses, with classes and labs being used as an accessible space for learners to transform their ideas into reality. The most effective utilize technologies that allow for broad applications – a goal that large-format additive is uniquely positioned to address. For future-ready institutions that prepare learners for careers of dynamic change with relevant knowledge and life-long skills, additive manufacturing has proven to be an effective investment for those taking aim at superior teaching and experimentation, for a variety of disciplines.

Find out how prominent institutions like TH Wildau, targeting additive learnings beyond engineering students, and other are using BigRep’s additive technology to prepare their students in BigRep’s Guide to Large-Format for Education and Research.

About BigRep
BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers, creating the industry benchmark for large-scale printing with the aim to reshape manufacturing. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines are establishing new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep’s printers are the preferred choice of engineers, designers and manufacturers at leading companies in the industrial, automotive and aerospace sectors. Through collaborations with its strategic partners – including Bosch Rexroth, Etihad Airways and Deutsche Bahn – and key investors – including BASF, Koehler, Klöckner and Körber – BigRep continues to develop complete solutions for integrated additive manufacturing systems, as well as a wide range of printing materials on an open-choice source. Founded in 2014, BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore. Leading the way in one of the world’s key technologies, our multinational engineering teams are highly trained, interdisciplinary and customer-focused.

For additional information, please contact:
To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management or NOWLAB team, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:
Jürgen Scheunemann
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T: +49 30 9487 1430
E: [email protected]

HOW TO: 3 Steps to Hide the Seams and Become Design Leader

Hiding the seams with Marco

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Why is it important?

If one has a good knowledge of slicing software, they can reach a higher quality of the printed object. That naturally influences the general outlook of the one. Important aspect of the final print are the seams. They might spoil the effect of the design. The continuity of the print can be lost at start and end points of every layer. Hiding the seams is important in case of creating a prototype that is true to the final product as possible. Furthermore, it’s especially meaningful if you want to print the ready-to-use objects with important details.

In 3D models a slicing program transforms the model into G-code. The code includes any preferred optimizations and parameter changes. Thanks to that, the person printing the object has much more control of the quality and final outlook of the print. If the software is not set up properly, it automatically generates random starting points in different locations. That can affect the quality of the print. However, when the settings can be changed. It means that user can also change the whole project into one united object. That includes hiding the seams or unwanted curves.

In BigRep we understand the need for the best possible finish effect of the project. That is why we try different slicing methods, to find the perfect one and apply it for the full print height. In our case it is very important due to the large-scale printable quantity.

The tutorial

How To 3D Print: Hiding The Seams

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The tutorial explains how to avoid this problem and how to, using Simplify3D slicing software, step-by-step generate optimal start points. Marco Mattia Cristofori, the Architect and 3D Printing Specialist at BigRep, explains that a few additional modifications of the start and end location of the layers can make it sure that the seam is created in an optimal spot on the print. Often there is a natural groove or corner in a print that is a hiding spot for the seam. For example, on the manifold pictured and printed on Bigrep STUDIO, the curve on the right-hand side covers up the seam nicely. “We can make the seams follow the exact path we want them to follow,” said Cristofori. “So, instead, we can optimize this when we generate the G-code”.

hiding the seams

3 STEPS TO HIDE THE SEAMS

You can hide the seams on your print in 3 easy steps:

1) Import your model on Simplify3D and figure out how many processes you need to split the part in. Make sure the seams follow the path you want.

2) Edit singularly each process on the LAYER section changing the X & Y setting where the seams should be set up closer to.

3) Slice the part generating the G-code and check for possible improvements. Try different variation of the X & Y settings until you achieve the result you need.

However, Siplify3D is not the only possible tool. The list and description of popular slicing software can be found here.

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A Sense for Structure: NOWlab’s World-First ‘Smart Concrete Wall’

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

We were thrilled to announce news of the world's first 'smart concrete wall' via a recent article on designboom. Developed by NOWlab, the innovation department at BigRep, the smart concrete wall involved the production of large-scale 3D-printed formwork, enabling an adaptive surface through embedded capacitive sensors.

Jörg Petri, co-founder of NOWlab and lead on this cutting-edge project, said, “This functionalization of a concrete surface is the first of its kind, opening the possibility for any imaginable concrete surface to become a switch.”

The capacitive sensors are activated by the touch of a hand on the outer surface of the concrete wall, turning on and off the functional 3D-printed hexagonal light fixtures in the grid. A video by BigRep on the smart concrete wall visually demonstrates how the structure works, and how it is envisioned to be used in a larger format, such as for wall dividers, facades and interior screens. The smart concrete wall was created to be 2 m in height, 1 m wide, and 10-30 cm in depth.

3D-printed formwork for the wall was printed on a BigRep ONE large-scale 3D printer at Immensa Labs in Dubai, in cooperation with project partner Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). Ready to be used without additional certification, Petri says 3D-printed formwork enables resolutions that cannot be achieved by direct 3D printing of concrete. With large-scale 3D printing technology such as that of BigRep, companies now have the tools to produce required parts on a grand scale.

Petri and his team developed their know-how in the realm of 3D-printed formwork concrete casting in 2015 and, as 3D Printing Industry published in an article, BigRep was granted an international patent for the technology in April 2018.

As outlined in the designboom story, NOWlab believes that 3D printing can help architects reassert themselves as the master builders of the 21st century, enabling them to have direct control of the development of their designs. Techniques that once belonged to skilled craftsman, and have all but vanished from current building sites, can be reinstated thanks to 3D printing.

Well done to the whole team involved in bringing this world-first idea to fruition! NOWlab continues to work on numerous state-of-the-art applications using large-format 3D printing by BigRep, so stay tuned in the coming months for more exciting announcements and world-first projects.

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Webinar Recap: Revolutionizing Architecture and Construction with 3D Printed Formwork

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Last week, we aired our very first webinar on 3D printing and its emerging role in construction and architecture. We were thrilled to have so many people joining from around the world – many people tuned in from across Europe, the US and Asia Pacific! If you missed it, never fear – you can watch a recording of the webinar here and read on for a recap of the topics explored and the ideas shaping the industry.

After a brief introduction from Abbey Delaney, BigRep America’s Marketing Manager, NOWlab’s co-founder Jörg Petri began the webinar, joined by Prof. Tobias Wallisser, co-founder of LAVA and professor of innovation construction and spatial concepts. Together they explored their vision of a unified construction process and make a strong case for the current and future uses of 3D printing in the industry. Petri and Wallisser presented various fascinating use cases, including the never-before seen sensor integration project. Below is a very brief summary of the webinar, but we do encourage you to watch it yourself for the full effect, including slides, images and videos!

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

New Digital Craft

The construction industry is demanding a shift towards more automation and robotic tools, which opens up the chance for architects and engineers to address and solve new topics that were traditionally addressed only by highly skilled and experienced craftsmen. The problem is that these craftsmen do not exist anymore or are too cost intensive for the average project. In this context, we coined the word ‘digital craftsmanship’, which means that the current technology in the context of Industry 4.0 has the potential to bring back the advanced skills of former craftsmen in a digital context. At the forefront for innovation in the construction industry are the materials. One user case is presented in the webinar of a 3D printed model, where the water-soluble PVA filament is used as support and is embedded in cement. The example shows the new possibilities for designing structures and molds with complex geometries, enabled by the soluble filament.

Innovative Building Construction

The first example given in this topic was the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi (Barcelona, Spain), which has been developed and built using the first notes of ‘parametric’ thinking in the form of physical models – a design method based on rules and parameters to develop the shapes and the processes behind the design (that of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, in the 1880s).

The next example Petri and Wallisser reference is the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, which was inaugurated in 2006 and was the first project successfully built through the use of CAD CAM technology directly linked to fabrication processes.

Process Chains Automotive vs Construction

Compared to construction, the automotive industry has the whole process from design and planning to assembly in-house. This is not the case for the construction industry, which utilizes an outdated linear process, meaning the demand for new digital tools is great. Industry 4.0 enables now the linking of digital fabrication to the design and CAD CAM processes.

The full process chain can be viewed in the webinar, but essentially the result is that facades and new buildings can work with 3D-printed casts, allowing for a more advanced design, increased building speed and improved building efficiency. One core example is a project conducted by NOWlab in cooperation with Geiger, to restore the facade of a monument using 3D printing. The cast models were printed, and the concrete pieces were installed on the building.

Construction with 3D Printing

Sustainability

Since the 1990s, advancements in graphic design has reached architecture, as people began designing free forms with complex geometrical structures. The only way of achieving this was with huge styrofoam blocks which were milled with CNC machines.

The example given in the webinar is the case of Frank Gehry Zollhafer in Düsseldorf, for which the formwork was milled for pre-casted elements one at a time. The problem with this method is that the milling produces a lot of styrofoam waste.

The advantages of 3D printing in this context are that you only print the material that is needed to form the concrete, and you can print high-quality polymers that are recyclable. If the strength is sufficient, you can even print PLA as biopolymer, which you do not need to recycle – you can give it back to the natural material flow.

To sum it all up, the webinar was an exciting experience for us at BigRep, as it gave us the opportunity to interact with our audience, answer their questions, and inspire new ideas and designs for construction and architecture. We can say with confidence that we will be looking forward to more webinars in the very near future. Save the date: September 6th we will be hosting the next webinar, so stayed tuned for registration details!

Many thanks to everybody who made the webinar possible, especially our illustrious hosts:

Jörg Petri / Co-founder of NOWlab Innovation Department of BigRep

Tobias Wallisser / Professor of Innovation Construction and Spatial Concepts – Co-founder of LAVA- Laboratory of Visionary Architecture in Berlin

Abbey Delaney / Marketing Manager, BigRep America

Watch the webinar

June Webinar Approaching! 3D Printing in Architecture and Construction

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BigRep is coming to your very own computer screen – we’re pleased to invite individuals and companies with an interest in 3D printing, architecture or construction to join our free expert webinar on June 26 2018, at 2PM EDT (Boston, Toronto) and 2PM CET (Berlin, Paris).

The international architecture and construction industries are increasingly replacing traditional methods of designing, model-making (see here a user case on 3D-printed architectural models) and building with advanced technologies.

Architect Jörg Petri, Co-Founder of NOWlab @ BigRep, is an innovator at the forefront of integration of technology into architecture. With NOWlab and BigRep, Petri works on innovative ways of utilizing 3D printing, with the aim of saving companies time, money and improving functionality. One such example is the work Petri and his colleagues did with Geiger GmbH on producing 3D-printed concrete casting molds for a heritage building project.

Cocrete-casting-1

Attendees at the webinar will learn about integrated sensors, molding, complex geometries, and more, exploring what is around the corner for additive manufacturing in construction and architecture. A range of use cases – including one never-before-published sensor integration project – will be front and center of the webinar to illustrate exactly how some forward-thinking companies are using 3D printing technology.

The webinar is free and open to anybody with an interest in the aforementioned fields, and Petri says he is looking forward to helping attendees discover approaches to designing and building that could work for their businesses and specific applications.

The NOWlab and BigRep teams are excited to welcome attendees to the webinar and encourage interested parties to register as soon as possible – spots are limited, so hop to it and register!

Register for the Webinar

Lean on PVA, When You Need Support

PVA - 3D printing support material

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Many of us wish our worldly worries could just dissolve away, but it never seems to work that way. Though if it’s about support structures for large-scale 3D objects, then BigRep’s PVA is the cure for all concerns.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is commonly used in industrial 3D printers with dual-extruders, like the BigRep ONE, to provide support for an object with overhang issues. Some complex prints involving multiple extended overhangs (of over 45°) can only be performed by printing such a support structure. Otherwise, the printed structure would warp or simply collapse – nobody likes that.

BigRep PVA is unlike any other 3D printing filament on the market. It is non-toxic, odorless and easy to extrude, as well as being water soluble. The warmer the water, the faster it dissolves, so users can spend more time creating those tortuous prints and less time refining the results. Moreover, it has been optimized for improved melt flow characteristics, meaning users need not spend their precious time unclogging the hot end. A new video by BigRep shows how easy the process can be, as well as the quality prints resulting from PVA integration.

Wheel Rim

For complex geometries, PVA can be the ideal support structure to enable printing of angles over 45 degrees. Designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori, this 3D-printed wheel rim challenges aesthetic norms for such vehicle parts. The intertwining braces are designed such that they would not be possible with CNC and other traditional methods of milling a wheel rim. Furthermore, for Cristofori’s design, there was no need for manual post-printing curing, sanding, or grinding, thanks to the PVA support – it melts right off the final print.

3D Printed wheel rim

BigRep Longboard

3D printed on the BigRep STUDIO, this BigRep bionic longboard is a model of structural integrity and fascinating aesthetics. It was printed using BigRep PLA with PVA support and integrated carbon pipe, as designed by Beatrice Müller. Once the print had been soaked in water for 20 minutes, BigRep’s team was able to use a soft spatula-type implement to begin scraping the residue off the print.

Longboard

While BigRep already sells a range of high-quality, meticulously engineered 3D printing filaments through its online shop, there is always room for consultation on additional materials. When customers are looking for a specific kind of filament for a custom application, BigRep’s team is pleased to take on the challenge – read more about collaborations between BigRep and Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Airways Engineering and BASF.

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BigRep PRO HT vs ABS

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FROM CONCEPT TO FUNCTIONAL PARTS

When it comes to printing large, affordable parts for concept modeling and basic functional testing, PLA is the most common material used to achieve a good result. PLA has a low-cost entry point and is easy to handle on any FDM 3D printer. But what happens when there is a need to print large functional parts with a material that has much better temperature and impact resistance properties? For this purpose, ABS would be a good choice for many closed platform printers. BigRep offers another option at a price from €52.50/kg, its high-performance PRO HT filament, which is suitable for open machines. PRO HT has various advantages over ABS which make it a candidate for closed-platform environments too.

BIGREP PRO HT

With 3D printers that have an open or otherwise unheated build chamber, low printing temperature is the limiting factor when it comes to producing heat-resistant prints. PRO HT was developed by BigRep and our filament producers to answer the need to produce large parts with improved mechanical properties for functional testing on such machines. PRO HT is composed of 100% renewable and naturally pure raw materials, is CO2 neutral, and exhibits excellent adhesion to the print bed.

Key Points - BigRep PRO HT

  • • Meets all requirements of European regulation for food contact
  • • Extrudes very well between 195°C and 205°C
  • • Has very low “warping effect”
  • • Withstands temperatures of up to 115°C
  • • Is compatible with BigRep’s Power Extruder with 0.6, 1 and 2 mm nozzles
  • • Produces no smell issues during extrusion
  • • Price from €52.50/kg

PRO HT vs ABS

Since it’s considered as an ABS alternative, one should ask about the differences between these two materials. Before we compare their performance, it’s important to mention a significant difference in their make-up: PRO HT is a Biopolymer while ABS is an oil-based plastic, making PRO HT in a basic sense more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Turning then to performance: PRO HT and ABS share similar tensile and flexural strength characteristics; in terms of impact strength, ABS shows good results, but PRO HT is much stronger still; finally, PRO HT can withstand a 15°C higher temperature than ABS.

bike design printed with bigrep pro ht 3d printing filament

A separate, important difference is in surface quality. PRO HT has a matt finish which is an increasingly valued property in the added manufacturing industry, while ABS has a gloss surface finish. Overall then, for open platform printers for which ABS is not usable PRO HT represents an excellent alternative to it. For closed platform machines PRO HT’s better impact strength and environmental credentials, greater temperature resistance, and matt finish will make it more desirable for many applications.

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Key Characteristics of BigRep PRO HT, BigRep PLA and ABS

Characteristic PRO HT PLA ABS
Temperature Resistance (VST) 115°C 60°C 100°C
Material BioPolymer BioPolymer Oil-based
Tensile Strength 44 MPa 60 MPa 44 MPa
Impact Strength 216 KJ/m2 7.5 KJ/m2 58 KJ/m2
Flexural Modulus 2600 MPa 3800 MPa 2030 MPa
Density 1.3 g/cm3 1.24 g/cm3 1.1 g/cm3
Finish Matt A range: from Matt to Gloss Gloss
Price/kg From €52.50 From €28.12 N/A for BigRep machines

Summary

BigRep PRO HT seems to be the perfect, cost-effective solution for printing large parts with high performance characteristics on an open platform machine. It may also often be the optimal material to carry out similar tasks on closed platform machines as well. It has great environmental features, a great matt finish available in several colorways, and is easy to print with on the BigRep ONE and BigRep STUDIO 3D printers, as well as many others.

Gil-Lavi-115x115

With over 22 years in the printing industry, Gil Lavi is a Sr. 3D-Printing Specialist with vast experience in implementing diverse 3D-printing technologies in design and manufacturing processes.

Connect with Gil on Linkedin HERE.

Stick by your print bed

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One key challenge presented by 3D printing, especially if there is a small area of contact for a large print, is detachment from the print bed. Add to that the fact that each material requires different printing conditions. So, even on a large 3D printer like the BigRep ONE, which works equally well for all materials, our printing experts were always on the hunt for a first-layer adhesive solution that was solvent-free and environmentally friendly, not to mention easy to work with.

BigRep and R&D startup Thought3D (based in Valletta, Malta) recently announced a cooperation to bring a first-layer adhesive to large-scale build area FFF industrial 3D printers. So, we’re pleased to introduce Magigoo – a glue stick that increases printing reliability and maintenance convenience.

magigoo-2-web

What began as a meeting and casual chat between some BigRep and Thought3D staff at IDTechEx in May, ended up in a cooperation to refine the Thought3D product and make it available for testing on large-scale prints at the BigRep Berlin office. Crucial to BigRep in using the adhesive has been the fact that it sticks and holds fast to the object when the print bed is hot, and releases when the print bed is cold.

“BigRep customers expect high-quality end products," said Moshe Aknin, Chief Technology Officer at BigRep. “Magigoo is a reliable product that helps our dependable workhorse printers to achieve great large-scale results.”

In one particular instance, BigRep was printing a section of its creative team’s bionic propeller design on The ONE printer. Given the propeller model’s area of contact was rather small, the BigRep team needed Magigoo on the print bed to aid in printing the large part’s challenging geometry. Moreover, the object’s overhangs and sharp details could have led to object detachment, but with the Magigoo adhesive, BigRep was able to successfully print several sections of the model for prototyping.

magigoo-3-web

“We enjoyed working with BigRep to extend our product range for large format 3D printers and we are glad to provide a product that meets the high demands of industrial clients,” said Dr Keith M Azzopardi, Co-Founder and R&D Lead at Thought3D. “We hope to continue this collaboration with BigRep. Magigoo’s development road map is underway. We are expanding our product portfolio to include an even wider spectrum of smart adhesives targeting engineering materials.”

You can read more about the Magigoo’s glue stick on their website, or on 3Dprint.com and 3D Printing Media Network, where the announcement was also covered.

BigRep Releases Long-Awaited Large-Format Plastic

Fabbaloo

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BigRep has solved a major barrier to large-format 3D printing in a very ingenious way.

The problem being solved is warped prints.

Wait a moment, you say, “hasn’t that already been solved”.

Well, yes, it has - but only for smaller machines. Smaller desktop units would typically employ a heated print surface that keeps the temperature of the first layer of plastic just at the point where it won’t warp. Too high and it would deform, too low and it would contract due to cooling and a warp would develop.

Warping is an insidious problem because it not only deforms the object’s shape, it can also cause the print to fail entirely if the print becomes loose from the print bed. I hate warping!

But it’s a property of the majority of plastics used in 3D printing. When heated, they slightly expand. When cooled, they slightly shrink. And you need it hot during printing and cool to use the object. It’s unsolvable, or so it would seem.

Major players in the industry overcome the problem by simply heating their build chambers. Stratasys, for example, tends to keep their printers at around 70C internally during printing. When the print completes, the plastic simply cools uniformly in all directions, preventing warp.

But open-format large-scale 3D printers such as BigRep’s ONE are more affected by this problem than smaller machines, simply because larger prints offer more warp opportunity: shrinks are amplified over the longer axes of the model.

Keep reading… (on fabbaloo.com)

 

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