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Author Topic: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system  (Read 586 times)

carlmt

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3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« on: May 03, 2019, 02:35:15 PM »

Hi All  :-))


Well, we here at Linkspan Models have finally got our 3D printing system delivered, set up and running!





The system comprises the actual printer (the large red box) which is completely self-contained, the sieve to mix the used and fresh powders (the black machine) and a sandblasting cabinet (actually in the workshop) which uses fine glass beads as the blasting medium.


Yesterday was our first day of actually printing anything so a test set-up was created in the supplied software using parts for our forthcoming Spirit of Free Enterprise kit.


The actual printing process is a bit of a non-event in that there is very little to see happening, other than watching the laser do its thing through a small window in the top of the machine :





The dark areas are where the laser has fused the nylon powder into a solid layer.


The process is very time consuming - as is most 3D printing solutions - but with this system we can print multiple parts in one session.  Additionally, it is a very hot process!!! Temperatures within the build chamber reach in excess of 170 degrees Celcius.  This is to bring the nylon powder close to the melting point, thereby allowing the use of only a very low-powered laser to add the 'finishing touch'.  Such a high temperature adds to the overall time that the machine is in use - about 1 hour to warm up and a good 2 hours to cool down to 50 degrees before the lid will unlock.





The result at the end of the production process is a 'cake' of nylon powder which contains the printed parts within - this is removed from the machine for post production processing :











At this time, the 'cake' is still very warm!


Once broken down, the parts within become obvious and, using various supplied tools and brushes, the loose powder is removed :








Once all the loose powder has been removed, the parts are placed in a tray ready for the next stage which is a final polish in the sandblaster :





You will note that all the parts are a dark grey colour.  At this time, this is the only colour available for these 'affordable' machines as the darker colour aids the SLS process with the lower powered laser.  It is not a handicap for our hobby though as most of the parts will be painted anyway.


More action to come - more parts to print - but already we can see that this set-up is going to help us enormously going forward and, in the near future, we will be able to offer a design and print service beyond what we need to produce for Linkspan's own needs.



raflaunches

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 07:38:51 PM »

Hi Carl


Great news that youíve got them out of the boxes- I know you were itching to play with them last weekend! Canít wait to see the results in my kit. Love to see this new technology being used in our hobby and the actual process producing it.  :-))
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coch y bonddu

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 08:47:17 PM »

Wow thats very impressive m8,can the powder that is left in a cake be recycled or is it destined for the bin






Dave
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carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 09:02:03 PM »

Wow thats very impressive m8,can the powder that is left in a cake be recycled or is it destined for the bin

Dave


Hi Dave - All the powder that isnt fused can be re-used.  It is put through a mechanical filter sieve and mixed with some fresh powder and stored until needed.


Very, very little goes to waste.


 :-))

carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 09:04:30 PM »

Hi Carl


Great news that youíve got them out of the boxes- I know you were itching to play with them last weekend! Canít wait to see the results in my kit. Love to see this new technology being used in our hobby and the actual process producing it.  :-))


Hi Nick - Yes mate, finally managed to get it all fired up and working.  One more test run tomorrow with some much finer parts and then we will be in business.


Looking forward to working it in anger and getting the kit parts sorted - no more waiting on outside agencies for deliveries!!!

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 11:02:35 PM »

Well thats darned good news Carl seems like a good piece of kit that




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warspite

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2019, 11:56:39 AM »

I assume you will also layering, arranging items around each other to utilise more of the powder in each use of the machine, similar to when shapeways did that stack of parts for another ferry.
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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2019, 08:13:06 PM »

Excellent news and wishing you every success in this new venture.


Andy
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carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 08:44:44 PM »

Excellent news and wishing you every success in this new venture.


Andy


Cheers Andy - Another small step for Man.............  :-))

carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 08:52:34 PM »

I assume you will also layering, arranging items around each other to utilise more of the powder in each use of the machine, similar to when shapeways did that stack of parts for another ferry.


Absolutely!  Although, there isnt that much of a 'saving' in either time nor powder whether we fill the print volume or print multiple sessions with less parts.


I ran a comparison between printing one Free Enterprise 3D over 3 sessions set against 3 sets in one session and, whilst the one set was obviously quicker, the 3 sets at once was only 3 times the length of time taken for one set.  The only real saving would be having to clean the machine after each printing session.


Either way, I enjoy the challenge of nesting all the parts together to get the most out of a session.  Here is the nest for the Norland which we will get printing on Monday:





This little bundle is going to take 51 hours and 13 minutes to print.  Seems like a long time, but there are the best part of 100 fittings in that nest.  I know that injection moulded plastic would probably be cheaper and quicker in the long run but that is the nub of the problem with the model boat scene - the volumes do not justify the expense of the tooling. 


More soon!  :-))

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2019, 12:22:07 AM »

Well Carl.......at 51:13 hours for the print job.....just a few questions

Does the machine require periodic fill-up of plastic stock material?..
Will the full print run complete itself without any maintenance [like to clean an embedded nozzle or something?]

So what do we see? %)

3 different size pairs of Bollards Sets?
one singular 2 fluked Anchor
sets of hand wheels on drums.....Anchor winch parts?
Sets of angular arms which could be for Life Boat Davits?

...and lots of intersecting parts that remain nameless {-)

Derek
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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2019, 10:15:28 AM »

Wow looks really cool!  8) :-)) :-))
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carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2019, 10:58:39 AM »

Well Carl.......at 51:13 hours for the print job.....just a few questions

Does the machine require periodic fill-up of plastic stock material?..
Will the full print run complete itself without any maintenance [like to clean an embedded nozzle or something?]

So what do we see? %)

3 different size pairs of Bollards Sets?
one singular 2 fluked Anchor
sets of hand wheels on drums.....Anchor winch parts?
Sets of angular arms which could be for Life Boat Davits?

...and lots of intersecting parts that remain nameless {-)

Derek


Good morning Derek  :-))


I will try to answer in the order you have asked  :-)


Does the machine require periodic fill-up of plastic stock material?.. : No - The software used to create the file for printing estimates the amount of powder needed for the print bed.
[/size]
[/size]Will the full print run complete itself without any maintenance [like to clean an embedded nozzle or something?] : Yep!  Once the top of the machine is closed it doesnt need any maintenance or supervision.  There are no nozzles to clean and the only moving parts are the laser, recoater roller and the powder beds.
[/size]
[/size]A diagram to show the principle of the workings :
[/size]


[/size]So what do we see? %)


2 propshaft A frames, 2 stabiliser fin mechanisms, 2 anchor heads for the anchor pockets, 15 of one bollard type, 18 deck fairleads, 3 electrical windlasses, 10 clamps for the mooring wires, 2 cable brakes for the anchor cables, 2 foredeck anchor windlasses and drum mooring winches, 10 lifeboat winches, 1 spare anchor that lies on the foredeck, 4 large mushroom vents, 12 lifeboat ladder platforms, 20 lifeboat davits, 2 bridge wing control consoles, 2 radars, 2 structures for the foremast, 2 ships whistles, 1 binnacle, 12 navigation lamps, 1 mast that sits on the funnel, 2 navigation light boxes, 2 panama ports, 18 liferings, 8 liferaft cannisters, 10 covered lifeboat access ladders and a sheet of 54 dummy fluorescent deck lamps.


 :-)) :-)) :-))  C

Colin Bishop

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2019, 11:04:14 AM »

Useful diagram Carl, I was wondering how it all worked.

I'm sure we will be interested in your updates in putting it to work on a regular basis.

Colin
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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2019, 11:17:39 AM »

Thanks for the image, Carl - that makes everything clearer!


Very neat!


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derekwarner

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2019, 11:30:47 AM »

Wow  {-) ...thanks Carl.........that is also a very comprehensive list of components being produced in one print job  O0 .........


Does the synthetic plastic material [once printed] need a special etch primer prior to final coat?....typically items such as the Prop Shaft......are they only cosmetic or functional components?


Amazing technology........Derek
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carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2019, 05:39:26 PM »

Hi Derek - no special etch primer is needed as the parts have a slight rough texture to them already.  They are porous however (after all, they are composed of minuscule nylon beads fused together) so any paint will soak into the part.


As for the propshaft A frames, they are probably as strong as brass ones, they wont fracture easily, but they are slightly flexible on the struts, so I wouldnt say that they would give absolute rigidity to a shaft but for our ferries they are perfectly adequate for the job.


The second test batch has now come from the machine and I am pretty happy with what we have..........


These are all parts for the new Spirit of Free Enterprise kit and comprise bow and stern rudders, bow rudder frame, A frames for the shafts, revised and corrected anchor pockets and the rear linkspan landing platform :














Now to get these fitted to the hull of the ship!!!!!  :-)) :-))

carlmt

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Re: 3D Printing and the Sinterit SLS system
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2019, 10:24:31 PM »

First production parts for the Norland kit all cleaned up in the blasting cabinet:

















Over 130 individual parts all printed in one 52 hour session!




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