Technologies

Want to understand the geeky detailed differences between the different ways our products are made? You're in the right place...

There are three different types of 3D printing technology used in the products on our site. They are outlined here. This is aimed at the novice reader and will include some of the details that may be of interest to technically minded readers. If you have questions, please ask via ClawsandClamps@gmail.com, we are happy to be more geeky, in fact we'd like to do so!

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) - used for Entry Level Claws and Flesh Clamps.

FDM is a process whereby a thermoplastic, in this case a blend of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polycarbonate (PC), is heated to melting point and expressed through a hot nozzle to build a product in layers. Imagine a hot glue gun drawing repeated outlines of an object while moving vertically through space layer upon layer until the object is created.

In this case the printer is a Tiertime Upbox+, The material is printed at 270°C in layers 200 microns high.

In order to do this some areas of the model require support structures. These are printed as part of the model and then removed afterwards.

This technology is cost effective and readily accessible for small businesses to own and operate. It is popular in the hobbyist community where it is often used for lower temperature machines using structurally inferior material.

The downsides of this manufacturing technology are that the resolution is only as good as you can achieve by repeatedly tracing a half millimeter wide line along a path in layers of 200 microns (0.2mm). That is, you can see the layer lines and detail resolution is limited around half a millimeter.

This is what they look like when they come off the printer.

Our chosen material is a robust engineering grade plastic. You may come across some hobbyist printers spruiking the use of PLA and touting it as biodegradable. While this is technically correct, it is only degradable by particular organisms under specific conditions. PLA will not break down in landfill, meanwhile it is a much less robust material. If you are going to buy a plastic product, we recommend that it be a high quality product that will not go to land fill after a use or two. That is what we offer, the highest quality product that the technology allows.

 

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - used for Premium Nylon Claws.

SLS is a much more advanced technology which gives a higher level of detail. Our SLS Nylon products are printed on EOS branded machines.

Powdered Nylon, also known as PA2200, is spread on a thin layer at the base of the build chamber. A laser then traces a path of all of the areas that need to be bonded in that particular layer to create the finished object, then the build chamber is lowered minutely, another layer of powdered Nylon is added and the process is repeated until complete.

Supports are not required as the unmelted material supports the part until it is removed from the printer.

In this case the layer height is 100 microns, and the resolution of the particles being melted is 16 microns.

This results in a surface that is smooth to the touch, and without visible layer lines in the products that we offer. The surface has microporosities which are visible upon close examination.

This is a close up shot of a Premium Nylon Claw (SLS, left) and an Entry Level Claw (FDM, right) so that you can see the difference for yourself.

 

Binderjet Metal - used for the Metal Claws.

These are printed using a binder jetting process that is later infused with bronze, creating a material that is 60% steel and 40% bronze. This creates an electrically conductive part that is suited to electro play.

Powdered steel is spread on a thin layer at the base of the build chamber. A print head then applies a binder to all of the areas that need to be bonded in that particular layer to create the finished object, then the build chamber is lowered minutely, another layer of powdered steel is added and the process is repeated until complete. The bonded part is then baked in a furnace while being backfilled with bronze to replace spaces left after the binder burns out. Finishing involves removal of any supports required for the build and, depending on your choice of finish, polishing.

This results in a surface that is smooth to the touch, some layer lines are visible.and the contribute to the aesthetic of the object.