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Sunday, August 31, 2014

JR Prototypes Expands Capabilities with SLS, Cast Urethane


This finned tube was produced by selective laser sintering. Credit: JR Prototypes.

JR Prototypes has expanded its services to include the additive manufacturing technique selective laser sintering (SLS) and cast urethane prototyping.

The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company focuses on providing prototyping and short-run manufacturing solutions through traditional techniques such as CNC processing, as well as newer additive technologies like fused deposition molding (FDM). FDM, which is recognizable as the process by which many desktop 3D printers produce models, can create products out of thermoplastics, but the addition of SLS to JR Prototypes’ capabilities enables the additive manufacturing of metal components.

During SLS, as we noted from Scott McGowan’s Inside 3D Printing lecture, involves fusing metal or polymer powers under the heat of a laser, layer by layer, per CAD guide.  Designers can make 3D design files and produce 3D models or short-run production parts rapidly using the technology.

Cast urethane involves curing a prepolymer in a mold. The urethane can be cured into a hard material, such as the surface of a golf ball, or as a rubbery texture. Cast urethanes are used for prototyping because of their low cost and chemical abrasion resistance.

Brian Lane

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