FX Models is proud to announce that we will now be offering 3D Rapid Prototyping
Services to the general modeling community, as well as to the modeling manufacturing community.
Cad drawing itself is $125.00 dollars per hr. if we have to do all the art work for you.
Cad drawing preparation for STL files is $100.00 flat rate.
What this means if you did the drawing and you are not sure if it is correct then we will do the corrections.
Operating cost for the Machine is $25.00 dollars per hr.
What this means is that if you do all the STL file prep work and all the drawings and all we have to do is run the machine your cost will be $25.00 dollars per hour.
This in-house system allows parts designed on the computer in 3D to be 'printed' out in a final, finished physical 3D form. Often confused with SLA, which is usually a lesser resolution process, this method of part building on the machine is analogous in principle to how an MRI or CT Scan works. With an MRI or CT Scan, the part of body being scanned is scanned in successive 2D layers from the bottom up for example. If you take enough layer images and stack them all together, you can build a 3D computer model of the part of the body being scanned. With 3D printing, you build the 3D Computer model FIRST, and then slice it up into layers, from a coarse resolution of 5 thousandths per layer, to a very fine resolution of 0.5 thousandths per layer.
FX Models has the capability to "grow" parts in this way in a volume of 6x6x12" in size. Parts larger than 12" long would be broken up in the computer model and printed successively on the machine and be assembled afterwards. Regardless of how they are grown, they can be molded after coming off of the machine, and reproduced effortlessly in multiples.
The material that the machine produces is not a plaster or corn starch type material, but a true Thermoplastic. During the grow process this blue plastic is laid down by one of two 'print heads' and then encased in a layer of support material . The reason for a support material is that if a highly delicate part is grown, the wax 'supports' the delicate part during the build so it doesn’t sag. After all, as the plastic is laid down, it is molten and needs to cool. Once the part is done, it looks like a purple mass with something inside. The something inside is the blue plastic part and the purple mass is the wax that will be dissolved away with a heated bath of a solvent. The final result is a plastic part.
Builds can take a long time. The parts shown on this page were 11 hours to build, and all were built at the same time. The process takes a long time but considering how long it would take to build the pieces manually, the savings is immediate and obvious. In the case of these particular test pieces though, they are simple relative to the benefit received by making these as computer models first and then growing them. But for complicated models, the process is worth its weight in gold for turnaround and ease of manufacture.
See this page for updates and watch the process unfold.
Here is the setup and first test runs of the machine illustrating simple initial capabilities
Shop setup. 3D Printer to the left is an enclosed cabinet although the machine is completely odor free during the builds. The machine itself contains a processor and hard drives for data storage, and is on our LAN (Local Area Network) backbone so that any computer can send data to it for building. To the right is the flat panel, monitor and keyboard interface to the machine, and a crock pot next to that. The crock pot is the solvent pot, heated up to 55 Celsius and dissolves the wax off the build leaving the part itself.
Building three parts at once. In principle any number can be built. These parts are small parts, and were built during training to test the machine after arrival and setup. Two of the parts underway here that are actually fashion rings being built layer by layer. After the print heads lay down their material the entire table, called the build plate, is lowered by the layer height and the process starts again until done.
Parts as they come off the machine. The blue plastic is visible in those areas where no support material was required. The purple support material encases the plastic and is soon to be dissolved away.
Final parts after solvent has dissolved the encasement support wax. Details as small as 1/10,000 can be placed on pieces! These pieces are considered very coarsely detailed for this machine and barely touches its capabilities, but it is interesting nonetheless to grow these for machine testing.
More information will be supplied in an article in the June SC Report.
Phone number: 1-434-228-6072
Fax Number: 1-860-591-8593
web address: fxmodels.com