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Tool-grade master patterns created twice as fast

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Solidscape, one of the world's leading providers of precision rapid pattern making systems, has announced a dramatic 100 per cent speed increase for its popular T66 and T612 Desktop 3D printers.

Available in the UK exclusively from Unimatic Engineers, the new Rapid Prototyping printers will still achieve the same high resolution, while doubling the potential work output through the machines, and with no increase in price.

The Solidscape layer manufacturing process combines ink-jet technology with high-precision milling to build models or patterns of a very high dimensional accuracy. The process uses Drop-on-Demand Jetting that comprises two piezo jets that put out up to 12,000 droplets per second; one deposits a thermoplastic, InduraCast, that has properties similar to wax, the other a special sacrificial support wax, InduraFill, that provides support for undercuts and overhanging features and that is dissolved after completion of the part. The print heads digitally deposit micro-droplets of molten build and support materials that solidify on impact with the cooler build layer. After building, each layer is milled flat to the required thickness. This process produces fine-featured patterns, up to +/-0.025mm accuracy with a surface finish of 32micro-inches that are used mainly for investment casting. The accuracy is claimed to be up to five times more better than some other rapid prototyping systems.

The doubling in speed has been achieved with a completely new version of the on-board ModelWorks CAM software. This translates CAD designs into solid 3D models that are so accurate that users can go beyond concept modelling straight to the production of tooling-grade patterns ready for casting or mould-making. The ModelWorks program operates at a speed that cuts the overall cycle time by half, while providing a level of precision that reduces or completely eliminates the need for any post processing or polishing.

"The increased productivity of these machines gives a very convincing cost-benefit analysis," says Trupti Patel, Commercial Director at Unimatic. "We see this range of machines as the key to penetrating new industrial markets where intricate, master patterns are required. The higher speed Solidscape Desktop machines address customer needs for cost-effective pricing, higher throughputs, cast-ready results and superb surface finishes."

Unimatic is offering existing Solidscape Desktop users an upgrade option that is free for systems covered under warranty or for those who have purchased a service contract.

04 September 2006

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