3D Systems

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Methods 3D has partnered with 3D Systems, creating an additive manufacturing team unsurpassed in industry. We have established seven technology labs across the country equipped with state-of-the-art 3D printers and staffed with a dedicated team of industry experienced, highly-skilled professionals. The company is fully integrated with, and leverages, the extensive machining and manufacturing experience of Methods Machine Tools to further enhance our ability to provide our customers with a total manufacturing solution. Our focus is to empower our customers with the additive manufacturing technology from 3D Systems and others, coupled with exceptional service and applications support from Methods 3D. The solutions we provide will enable our customers to enter new markets, expand their manufacturing capabilities, and revolutionize manufacturing with 3D printing.

3D Systems provides the most advanced and comprehensive 3D digital design and fabrication solutions available today, including 3D printers, print materials and cloud-sourced custom parts. Its powerful ecosystem transforms entire industries by empowering professionals and consumers everywhere to bring their ideas to life using its vast material selection, including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles. 3DS' leading personalized medicine capabilities include end-to-end simulation, training and planning, and printing of surgical instruments and devices for personalized surgery and patient specific medical and dental devices. Its democratized 3D digital design, fabrication and inspection products provide seamless interoperability and incorporate the latest immersive computing technologies. 3DS' products and services disrupt traditional methods, deliver improved results and empower its customers to manufacture the future now.

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Direct Metal Printing (DMP)

Direct Metal Printing uses additive manufacturing technology. In the machine, a high-precision laser is directed to metal powder particles in order to selectively build up thin subsequent horizontal metal layers. The metal powder particles pinpointed by the laser quickly and fully melt so that the new material properly attaches to the previous layer, without glue or binder liquid.

The powerful fiber laser with high energy intensity inside the machine guarantees that metal parts exhibit a dense and homogenous material structure. CAD directly drives the machine without requiring any programming, clamping or tooling. The 3D printing approach is capable of simultaneously producing metal parts of different shapes in series of up to 20,000 pieces, ensuring that the laser gains systematic access to any location while building up parts. In this way, the most complex part shapes can be produced, including recesses, ribs, cavities and internal features.

All 3D Systems' DMP printers create chemically pure, fully dense metal and ceramic parts, and they deliver accuracy compatible with EN ISO 2768 (fine) machining tolerances and a repeatability of about 20 microns in all three axes. Materials include stainless steel, tool steel, super alloys, non-ferrous alloys, precious metals and alumina. The outstanding output quality, with high accuracy, finish, reliability and repeatability, and a choice of more than 15 materials, makes these industry-leading machines highly attractive to manufacturers.

The ProX line of DMP 3D printers are providing seamless and intuitive metal 3D printing in a variety of industries: custom dental prostheses, orthopedic implants, tire molds, watch manufacturing, aerospace parts and more. In addition, these systems are widely used for direct creation of conformal tooling, tooling insert and blow mold production.

Download the Direct Metal Printing brochure


Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS technology uses a laser to harden and bond small grains of plastic, ceramic, glass, metal (we talk in a different article about direct metal sintering), or other materials into layers in a 3D dimensional structure. The laser traces the pattern of each cross section of the 3D design onto a bed of powder. After one layer is built, the bed lowers and another layer is built on top of the existing layers. The bed then continues to lower until every layer is built and the part is complete.

One of the major benefits of SLS is that it doesn't require the support structures that many other AM technologies use to prevent the design from collapsing during production. Since the product lies in a bed of powder, no supports are necessary. This characteristic alone, while also conserving materials, means that SLS is capable of producing geometries that no other technology can. In addition, we don't have to worry about damaging the part while removing supports and we can build complex interior components and complete parts. As a result, we can save time on assembly. As with other AM technologies, there's no need to account for the problem of tool clearance-and thus the need for joints-that subtractive methods often encounter. So we can make previously impossible geometries, cut down on assembly time and alleviate weak joints.

SLS really shines when you need plastic parts that will last. SLS is capable of producing highly durable parts for real-world testing and mold making, while other additive manufacturing methods may become brittle over time. Because SLS parts are so robust, they rival those produced in traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding and are already used in a variety of end-use applications, like automotive and aerospace.

Download the Selective Laser Sintering brochure

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA) models offer the most accurate type of fit/form prototype for the verification of any design before committing to your chosen production route. Its high accuracy and good surface finish makes it the preferred choice for designer models, engineering verification and master patterns for silicone rubber molds

Stereolithography (SLA) is often considered the pioneer of the additive manufacturing processes,  with the first production systems introduced in 1988 and patented by 3D systems founder Charles (Chuck) W. Hull. The SLA process utilizes a vat of liquid photopolymer resin cured by ultraviolet laser to solidify the pattern layer by layer to create or "print" a solid 3D model.

An Ultra Violet (UV) laser beam is directed by a computer guided mirror onto the surface of the UV photopolymer resin. The model is built one layer at a time from supplied 3D CAD data. The laser beam traces the boundaries and fills in a two-dimensional cross section of the model, solidifying the resin wherever it touches. Each successive layer is applied by submersion of the build platform into the resin as the part gradually develops and the platform descends into the liquid resin.

Once the model is complete, the platform rises out of the vat and the excess resin is drained. The model is then removed from the platform, washed of excess resin, and then placed in a UV oven for a final curing. After curing SLA parts are then ready for post processing as required by the specific application. 

Download the Stereolithography brochure

MultiJet Printers (MJP)

MJP or MultiJet Printing is an inkjet printing process that uses piezo printhead technology to deposit either photocurable plastic resin or casting wax materials layer by layer. MJP is used to build parts, patterns and molds with fine feature detail to address a wide range of applications. These high-resolution printers are economical to own and operate and use a separate, meltable or dissolvable support material to make post-processing a breeze. Another big benefit is that removing support material is virtually a hands-free operation and allows even the most delicate features and complex internal cavities to be thoroughly cleaned without damage.

MJP printers offer the highest Z-direction resolution with layer thicknesses as low as 16 microns. In addition, selectable print modes allow the user to choose the best combination of resolution and print speed, so it's easy to find a combination that meets your needs. Parts have smooth finish and can achieve accuracies rivaling SLA for many applications. Recent material advances have improved the durability of plastic materials and are now suitable for some end-use applications.

Watch the MultiJet Printing Process

Download the MultiJet Printer brochure

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3D Systems distributor

Methods Machine Tools - Boston
65 Union Avenue
Sudbury, MA 01776
Tel: Phone: (978) 443-5388

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