New Metal Plating Technique Improves Durability of SLA Parts
The rapid manufacturing provider Dinsmore & Associates, Inc., of Costa Mesa, California, offers a wide range of 3D printing capabilities, as well as CNC machining, injection molding, plastic casting, and a newly evolving process called MC2 (Metal Clad Composite) plating.
By applying metal cladding to finished products made using SLA technology, Dinsmore is helping to pioneer MC2 plating for the production of more durable parts, said James Ward, director of marketing and sales for Dinsmore, in an emailed response. The process results in pieces that offer similar performance and ruggedness to metal, but at a fraction of the cost, he said.
While stereolithography (SLA) can be used to create limited-production parts with exceptional rigidity and high-temperature resistance, SLA-generated parts do not traditionally have the same durability as metal ones, nor do they provide EMI shielding. The MC2 process combines SLA with advanced nickel-plating technologies. This new process combines the physical properties of SLA resins with electromagnetic characteristics of nickel-plate to provide durable parts that perform like metal without costly and time-consuming machining. MC2 parts are useful for prototyping and testing, and for cost-effective, low-volume production.
With dozens of designers and design experts on hand, the company professionally examines each project from every angle, offering feedback from engineers of all disciplines, including industrial, electrical, and mechanical.
XShot, Inc. came to Dinsmore in 2014 with three new product ideas, like the “selfie-stick” that attaches to a smartphone to extend the device and capture background in the photo. With multiple new products in development, they were looking for a faster, more efficient way of launching their ideas.
With the new devices for cameras and phones that XShot had in mind, the ability to test their products with a prototype before going straight to manufacturing meant they could make sure every element of their design worked and was accurate. It also provided assurance that interchangeable parts would work when switched between multiple devices. Prototyping also allowed XShot to see where they could simplify the products to reduce production costs.
The SLA service that Dinsmore (www.dinsmoreinc.com) offers brought detail and quality when rigid parts were needed for XShot’s products, according to Dinsmore representatives. XShot has since expanded into PolyJet services for parts that benefit from having stretch and softness.
“Having the rapid prototypes available on a very quick basis allowed us to catch a few design problems before we went into production, which, of course, saves money and more importantly, time,” said Mike Shepard, XShot owner, in a statement.
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