Additive Manufacturing

The Engineering Department plays host to a wide range of the latest in 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies.

There are a number of different types of additive manufacturing, including 3D printing, direct digital manufacturing (DDM) and rapid prototyping. Traditional manufacturing techniques can produce a great range of shapes and designs, but additive manufacturing takes production to the next level.

One of the greatest benefits of this more modern technology is the greater range of shapes which can be produced. Designs that can’t be manufactured in one entire piece by traditional means can easily be achieved. For example, shapes with a scooped out or hollow centre can be produced as a single piece, without the need to weld or attach individual components together. This has the advantage of being stronger; no weak spots which can be compromised or stressed.

ZMorph multi-functional machine

This low-cost machine has a series of interchangeable heads that make it capable of being used as a polymer Fused Deposition Modelling extrusion process, a CNC router, a laser cutter/etcher and for those with a flair for something a bit more unusual, it can also be used for the extrusion of ceramic and chocolate when in a liquid/wet form. 

3D Touch

A low-cost desktop extrusion Fused Deposition Modelling machine that allows the dual deposition of polymeric materials, in order to build up the structurally strong component (e.g. in ABS) whilst also depositing a sacrificial support structure (e.g. in PLA).

Formlabs Form1

Based on the principles of Stereolithography, this desktop machine uses a 150mW ultraviolet laser to cure a photoreactive resin in individual layers in order to fabricate components. Although the material palette available is limited in choice, parts created are very accurate with an excellent surface finish.

Ultimaker 2

Another desktop Fused Deposition Modelling extrusion based machine, capable of building components in a wide variety of materials from the filament. More flexible than the Stratasys Dimension 1200 and cheaper to operate, however, component build quality is not quite as good.

Stratasys Dimension 1200

A more commercially focused Fused Deposition Modelling machine, differing from the low-cost desktop machines as it has a closed chamber, thus able to control the temperature of the environment and produce a more stable component. Filament extrusion of (primarily) ABS, although other materials are available.

Realizer 100

Selective Laser Melting technology, another powder-bed fusion process that uses a 100W Ytterbium fibre laser to melt metal powders to form fully functional metallic components. Able to process a wide range of metal powders including stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, cobalt chrome and tool steels.

ZCorp Spectrum Z510

A true 3D printer (in the context of being an inkjet-based process), the Spectrum Z510 has the ability to fabricate full-colour components in starch, plaster and other powdered materials. Comes with an additional deep-dip tank in which components are further strengthened through the infiltration of wax into the porous structure of the as-built parts. This machine has been re-purposed to enable the deposition of multi-materials (ceramics and metals) as part of an ongoing industrially-collaborative research project.

DTM Sinterstation 2000

The original Selective Laser Sintering technology, employing a powder-bed fusion of polymeric (and other) materials, utilising the energy from a 50W CO2 laser to bond Polyamide 12 (Nylon 12) powder to form tough resilient parts.