Forge LabsIndustrial 3D Printing Materials
- | 50+ advanced polymers and metals
- | 6 state-of-the-art 3D printing technologies
- | 1 day minimum lead time and next-day shipping across Canada
End-use 3D printing materials for end-use manufacturing or functional prototyping using Canada's most advanced 3D printing technologies, all under one roof.
There are 3 primary types of materials used in Industrial 3D Printing across six unique technologies:
Thermoplastics are the most commonly used plastics, capable of going through multiple cycles of melting and reformation into a solid structure. This makes the material popular for high throughput, industrial 3D Printing technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering, Multi-Jet Fusion & Fused Deposition Modeling. Parts built using these technologies can be either extruded or selectively sintered into a solid structure. The process is also reversible allowing plastic parts to be melted down and recycled. Parts tend to be highly durable and suitable for end-use applications in demanding environments.
Thermoplastics are a popular material choice for 3D printing due to several advantages they offer. They are available in many types, each with unique properties that can be selected based on the requirements of the printed object. This allows for a wide range of applications and uses. Thermoplastics are often the most affordable materials, with varying properties, such as flexibility, strength, and heat resistance that can be used to create objects with a variety of mechanical properties, such as rigidity, strength, and flexibility. They are also durable and resistant to wear and tear, making them suitable for applications where the printed object will be subjected to stress or repeated use.
Thermoplastics like ABS and ASA are cost-effective choices for producing prototypes, while our higher value materials like ULTEM, PEKK, and TPU, are sought after for their excellent mechanical properties in engineering applications. FDM machines also offer the largest build volumes with industrial 3D printing machines being capable of producing parts up to 1500mm in a single build. They are great for functional end use parts and make it possible to create objects that would be difficult or impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing methods.
Overall, the advantages of 3D printing using thermoplastics make them a popular choice for a wide range of applications, from prototyping to final production and small-scale manufacturing.
Thermosetting resins are used in 3D Printing technologies such as Stereolithography, PolyJet Matrix and Digital Light Processing. A UV light or laser is used to cure a photopolymer resin , producing detailed parts with a surface finish similar to that of injection molding. Unlike thermoplastics, these resins break down when heated and cannot return back to their original form. They also tend to be less functional and more brittle than thermoplastics.
One of the main advantages of resin 3D Printing such as SLA, PolyJet and DLP is in its ability to produce highly accurate parts with very fine details. This makes it an ideal choice for creating intricate and complex designs that require precision and accuracy. Resin 3D printing produces parts with a smooth surface finish that requires minimal post-processing, making it an excellent choice for applications where aesthetics are important. This makes it easier to produce final parts without requiring additional polishing or finishing steps. The technology can be used with a wide range of materials, including standard resins, tough and durable resins, and flexible and rubber-like resins. This versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of applications, including prototyping, product development, and small-scale manufacturing.
Resin 3D printing is fast, making it a very popular technology for the rapid production of complex parts and the ability to create multiple prototypes in a short amount of time. This is particularly useful for product development, where the ability to quickly iterate and test prototypes can help to speed up the development process. Overall, the benefits of SLA 3D printing make it an excellent choice for applications that require high accuracy, smooth surface finish, a wide range of material options, and fast production speeds.
Metals are produced using an industrial laser melting process known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering. Parts are formed using a high-powered laser to fuse fine particles of alloy together to form a solid structure. These metal parts are isotropic and possess similar mechanical properties to machined parts and are well suited for demanding, end-use applications including automotive and aerospace industries.
One of the main advantages of metal 3D printing is the design freedom that it enables. With metal 3D printing, it is possible to create complex geometries that are impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing methods. This opens up new design possibilities and enables the creation of parts that are optimized for their intended use. Metal 3D printing also allows for faster design iteration and prototyping, which can reduce lead times and accelerate time-to-market for new products. Additionally, metal 3D printing can enable the production of parts on demand, reducing the need for large inventory stockpiles.
Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, metal 3D printing generates very little waste, as only the necessary amount of material is used to create the part. This can lead to significant cost savings and reduced environmental impact.
Metal 3D printing also allows for the creation of parts with improved performance characteristics, such as increased strength, durability, and heat resistance. This can enable the production of parts for high-stress applications that would be difficult or impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing methods.
Additionally, metal 3D printing enables the production of customized parts on demand, which can be tailored to specific customer needs. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and increased product differentiation. While the initial investment in metal 3D printing equipment can be high, the technology can lead to significant cost savings over time. This is particularly true for low-volume production runs, where the cost of traditional manufacturing methods can be prohibitively high.
Overall, the benefits of 3D printing in metal make it an attractive option for a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and jewelry. With its ability to create complex geometries, reduce lead times, improve part performance, and enable customization, metal 3D printing is revolutionizing the way that metal parts are designed and produced