HIGH DIVERSITY OF MATERIALS, FREE CHOICE OF MANUFACTURER
Standard plastics (also known as bulk plastics) are cost effective and versatile. They typically include the four most commonly consumed plastics worldwide: polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene (PS). In additive materials extrusion, PLA and PETG are the most commonly discussed thanks to their quantitative use.
Engineering plastics (construction plastics) have better mechanical properties when compared to standard plastics, including higher impact strength or tensile strength. This makes them suitable for technical applications and, in some cases, construction applications (load-bearing parts). Engineering plastics are sometimes defined by the fact that their mechanical values and dimensional stabilities are maintained up to a maximum application temperature of 150°C. In additive material extrusion, PP, usually a standard plastic, is also considered a engineering plastic. Typical for printing with engineering plastics is the need of a build chamber heating.
Fibre-reinforced plastic is a composite material comprising high-strength reinforcing fibres and an elastic plastic matrix. The matrix fixes and protects the fibres, which are connected to the matrix through adhesive interactions. The effective normal and shear forces are conducted into the fibres at the fibre-matrix interface and thereby absorbed by them. The fibre shape is preferred because of its high surface-to-volume ratio and high aspect ratio. The aspect ratio enables an anisotropic material structure. Fibre-plastic composites typically have high specific stiffnesses and strengths, thus making them ideal for lightweight construction. In essence, thermoplastics or thermosetting plastics can be reinforced with short, long or continuous fibres. HAGE3D has opted for the thermoplastic short-fibre system thanks to its combination of material performance and print capability. Glass (standard reinforcement) and carbon (high reinforcement) have been chosen as fibre materials. With the help of the reproducibility, size and reliability of HAGE3D printers, the new materials system offers the benefit of printed lightweight construction.
All mechanical properties are maximum achievable values in the component tested
Plastics are frequently considered a low-temperature resistant material. There are, however, a number of high-performance plastics (PEKK, PEEK, PSU, etc.) with a special macromolecular structure that can withstand continuous operating temperatures of 150 °C to over 300 °C. These high-temperature materials are suitable when seeking a smart replacement for metal (particularly aluminium), as the polymer structure also offers the highest mechanical performance. They also offer very good sliding properties, low specific weight and resistance to chemicals and corrosion. Adding reinforcement materials such as glass or carbon fibre can improve stiffness and heat deflection temperature to create high-performance composites.
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are characterised by their capability of being repeatedly plasticised. This does not apply to normal elastomers, such as rubber, as they are permanently chemically cross-linked. By contrast, TPEs are physically cross-linked and the temporary cross-linking bridges can be thermally activated and deactivated. As such, TPEs are “thermoplastic rubbers”.
HAGE3D has been producing metallic components using indirect metal printing for several years. The new production method is known as the SDS process (Shaping, Debinding, Sintering). Shaping in indirect metal printing is undertaken by a HAGE3D machine. The printed part is then in a ‘green state’. The component then undergoes a catalytic debinding process to remove the polymer binding agent. Once debinding is complete, the part will be porous and must undergo sintering. Only then we have a solid, dense metal part. The sintered part is then ready for use, although additional surface finishing is also possible. The desired surface quality can be achieved by polishing, milling, heat treatment and coating. Surface finishing can also be undertaken on the green part. Indirect metal printing is particularly suitable for users who only want to print a metal component with a plastic printer on an occasional basis.