Prototyping in metal

Ogle Models and Prototypes is testing a new material, 'Alumide' which is a sintered aluminium filled nylon

. David Benion writes, "At this early stage we are investigating it's best uses. So far we have produced parts which look like metal prototypes, but with very different properties, and reference parts which are not subject to significant dimensional changes over time. To build this material successfully we have upgraded our EOS Selective Laser Sintering machine to the P380 standard, resulting in better definition and surface finish.

"We have also installed an SLA (Stereolithography) Viper capable in some instances of making parts with wall thickness down to 0.2mm. We are running Somos Watershed resin, which through various projects has proved to be good for a variety of uses including liquid & powder flow tests, and making accurate small assemblies and gears."

Alimide has a density of 1.37 to 1.40 g/m3, a tensile strength of 47 plusminus3 N/mm/2, and a tensile Young's Modulus of 3500 plusminus150 N/mm/2. It is intended for the manufacture of metal looking prototypes for visual assessment and wind tunnel models, but may well also have other uses.

The management team completed a management buy out of the company in February 2003. Other company capabilities include using rapid prototyping to directly produce moulds for RIM (Reaction In Mould) casting and vacuum casting of polyurethane resins. Materials available mimic ABS, PP and PC elastomers and can have a shore hardness of 40-90. Some materials are heat resistant up to 150 deg C. Tolerances are plusminus 0.2mm. TS

Ogle Models and Prototypes

Pointers

* The company is able to rapidly prototype in metal looking aluminium filled nylon

* Density is 1.37 to 1.40 g/m3

* Tensile strength is 47 plusminus3 N/mm/2, and tensile Young's Modulus is 3500 plusminus150 N/mm/2.

Author
Tom Shelley

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