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How Full Power Uses 3D printing to Produce Top-Notch Camping Gear

 

This is another case study on our customers’ implementations of 3D printing technology.

Full Power designs and manufactures plastic goods. It specializes in fasteners used in clothing and backpacks for outdoor pursuits.  

  A belt fastener for a knife sheath or gun holster.

Backpack buckles and fasteners.

  Jacket fasteners.

Full Power also manufactures other plastic items to order.

The printer

Formlabs Form 2  

  • Print technology: SLA
  • Print chamber: 145mm x 145mm x 175mm
  • Layer resolution: 25μm
  • Dimensions: 350mm x 330mm x 520mm
  • Weight: 13kg
  • Areas of use: Design; Architecture; Packaging; Advertising; Modeling; Medicine; Souvenir production; Jewelry; Education; Dentistry; Manufacturing
  • Print material: photopolymer
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Ethernet, USB
  • Price: $4020

The Formlabs Form 2 is the most well-known and one of the best of all stereolithographic 3D printers on the market.

It’s currently the benchmark for sterolithographic printers in its category.

How it’s used

Full Power uses the Form 2 for prototyping 3D models created in Fusion 360 before putting them into production by injection molding.

A major advantage of 3D printing in fastener manufacturing is the speed at which a working prototype can be made from a computer model.

At the end of a day spent designing your parts you can send them off for printing. You come back the next day and your prototypes are ready for inspection. Any flaws in the model can then be easily identified on the physical prototype and remedied in design.

3D printing enables the manufacturer to test digital models for real-life operation and correspondence to design specifications, dimensions and appearance.

Selecting a printer

The top priority driving the choice of printer was reliability, a quality for which the Form 2 is widely renowned.

How prototypes used to be made

 

Until 3D printing came along and turned everything upside down, prototype parts were made by hand. They were then sent to manufacturers who made molds from them and put the parts into production.

When the first 3D printers became available, prototypes began to be 3D-printed using FDM technology. FDM was later superseded by stereolithography.

Advantages

  • Precision
  • User-friendly interface
  • Mixing of compatible resins
  • Proven reliability

Disadvantages

  • The printing materials are expensive, and a printer in constant use will use up resin cartridges quickly.
  • The resin bath is also a consumable and needs replacing after a while of intensive use. 

Conclusions

The primary benefits of the Form 2 are time savings and the precision of printed parts. Taking an idea from concept to reality takes hours, if not minutes. Stereolithography is capable of much tighter tolerances than fused deposition modelling.  

There is no need for manual surface finishing after printing. With your own printer in-house, there is no need to outsource printing to a third party and no waiting for delivery, which can take considerable time given the present demand for 3D printing services.

The cost of ownership of the Form 2 is more than justified when in constant use in a professional setting, but it may be on the expensive side for hobby users.

Purchase the Formlabs Form 2 from Top 3D Shop and receive free delivery and training, as well as expert consultation on the full range of consumables available.   

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