Let me start off with Happy New Year wishes to all! 2017 actually marks our 21st year offering 3d printing services in Canada!
Back in the day, we started with one FDM 3d printer (the extruding kind) using primarily ABS and had to inform potential customers why and how rapid prototyping could benefit there development process.
These days, most have somewhat of a basic understanding of 3d printing (or at the very least know they need it), however most of our time now is spent dispelling myths and mystery around the options and materials.
Myth – If you want a part to function like an ABS part, get it 3d printed in ABS material
If your looking to create a 3d printed part to test your ABS items, you should be asking… ‘Do you offer parts that function like ABS?’ instead of ‘Do you offer ABS material?’
FDM is the only technology that offers actual ABS material, however this isn’t the best option if you want it to function like an injection-molded ABS part.
As the first company in Canada to own and operate FDM technology, we found the quality both visually and functionally of ABS parts to be poor in comparison to SLS nylon, so we upgraded.
Here’s the thing, SLS nylon parts, while built in nylon actually represent more accurately an ABS injection molded part than one made in ABS with the FDM process. The reason being is that SLS melts one layer of powder to the next making a solid piece, whereas FDM extrudes the material laying one layer on top of the next. If you were to force break the part, it would likely break on a layer, versus SLS which would break randomly. In addition, the ABS part is also not as flexible as the nylon and does not create proper functioning hinges or springs with sufficient flex.
The other option you may be presented with is SLA ‘ABS-like’ material. While we offer SLA, we do n0t offer ABS-like material as it will not give you what you need. All SLA and PolyJet materials are based on the technology of curing resin based materials with UV light. As a result parts in comparison to actual plastics materials are brittle and continue to become more so, as you can’t stop the curing process as natural UV light is always around.
Still uncertain? Give us a call and we can discuss your requirements further.