LaserCUSING® enhancement

The patented LaserCUSING® process from Concept Laser is used to create high-precision mechanically and thermally resilient metallic components. The fusing process generates components layer by layer using 3D CAD data.

In this process, fine metal powder is melted locally by a high-energy fiber laser. The material solidifies after cooling. The contour of the component is created by redirecting the laser beam using a mirror redirection unit (scanner). The part is built up layer by layer (with a layer thickness of 15 – 500 μm) by lowering the bottom of the build chamber, applying more powder and then melting again. The LaserCUSING® layer construction process allows the fabrication of both mould inserts with close-contour cooling and direct components for the jewellery, medical, dental, automotive, aerospace, and more sectors. This applies to both prototypes and batch parts.

Our engineers at Thikspace Technologies have managed to bring such enhancements to this - otherwise revolutionary technology - to gain advantage in efficiency, precision, and speed of fabrication. The hardware tuning consists of replacing certain parts of the machinery with ones that are custom made by our engineers, which are enhanced for more efficiency, enabling a more accurate (with a layer thickness of up to 10μm) replication of CAD models. The fine tuning of software includes the following attributes: laser power, scan speed, spacing trace, spot size and offset to original contour. These configuration options enable our customers to achieve application-based optimizations for a perfect result.

Hardware Tuning for customized manufacturing

Thinkspace Technologies provides the most advanced and comprehensive 3D digital design and fabrication solutions available today.With comprehensive 3D tools for design, engineering and preparation for manufacturing, Thinkspace Technologies empowers rapid, accurate product development. The Thinkspace Technologies developing and customization services allow the ideas to go from concept to manufacturing  without compromise.  Our engineers deliver top-end software and hardware solutions with comprehensive assembly, parametric and editing possibilities. The unique development services empower our customers to manufacture highly specialized products at competitive rate.

Feeder - holding more precisely with constant force

The main problem of retracting the raw material with the feeder is that it was your strength that determined how the locking mechanism constricts the raw material on the transfer roller. If too weak, the material could slip, if too strong, plastic pieces might occlude the transmission mechanism thereby due to the increasing friction, it slowed down the smooth raw material flow that is required for printing high quality products. The solution to this problem so far is that the locking system that impacts the raw material should be held by a spring in constant tensioned force, eliminating the arising problems from the possible uneven thickness of the raw material.

This solution is not exempt from cleaning sometimes the feeder mechanism. The feeder - holding more precisely with constant force - does one thing better than the previous version: thanks to the more precise material movement there is a much smaller chance that after retracting the raw material from the print head the extruder will not get material again during the refill. Because of this problem, in some print softwares enabling the retraction function is not default. If you enable it, the feeder will retract the raw material from the print head every time when the head is only moving, not putting any material down. If the retract function is active and the feeder is capable of transmitting the material both ways, the stringing phenomenon ceases almost completely.

Blocked extruder head

The melted raw material can make the extruder mechanism blocked. In the new version a copper pipe is connected into the teflon piece. This upgrade makes the print head longer so after its installation the upper edge of the Z axis needs to be calibrated again.

Blobbing

Blobbing is when small bulges appear on the printed model. It previously was caused by that some printer software / firmware combination polled the measured temperature of the extruder head too fast while printing, causing the blockage of the USB "data pipe" and errors of the print head. Using these applications, it was enough to close the monitoring the window therefore the thermometer polling commands were blocked.

Loosening belts

The propulsion is transfered by 2x2 long rubber belts to the axes moving the print head. After a longer period of usage, the belts might elongate which will cause that the positioning of the head will not be as precise as it was new. For avoiding this problem, you should use 4 clips according to the looseness of the belts.

Optic tuning

During 3D printing you see the way the head creates the object on plate. The solution is to add 1-1 LED stripe to the bottom of the machine and to its two side columns.

Heated built plate extension

The idea behind having a heated build plate is to improve the bond between the plastic and the build plate and reduce warping. As the raw material sticks better to the heated plate the created model stands still on it and there’s no further need to use protection stripes on the acrylic plate. The heating element is packed under a glass or a completely flat 6 mm thick aluminum plate, as they have much better thermal conductivity (the ready model can only be removed from the heated platform after it cooled down. Removable from the acrylic surface. The evenness is also important as a 0.05 mm difference can cause problems during the printing. We use borosilicate for the glass plate tuning. In case of using aluminium, it means a 6 mm thick plate.

A last temperature-related setting is heating the unused extruder while only printing with one extruder. This prevents the cold, idle extruder from hitting a print that has creeped up slightly and knocking it off the plate. When the print sticks well - bumping against the print and moving the glass build plate slightly (though it sits on springs, the plate can move a little in the x and y direction with some force). A hot extruder moves these edges out of the way a bit more easier. Users need to empty the idle extruder because it can ooze little bits of another material into the print.

Tuning The Software

Printers with the 3D software comes pre-loaded with 3 profiles: two for printing with either the left or right extruder and one for printing with both extruders at the same time. Both the manual and website offer useful information on the many different settings. To do highly customized print we can optimize the material setting, e.g. to PLA plastic instead of ABS because PLA is known for it’s ability to print smaller details. We can efficiently develop special settings for several out-of-the-box-prints with standard profiles to the customers’ special requirement.

Calibrating printing

It’s worth checking whether the printer works accurately or not. Our transparent calibration pyramid was created for this reason. It is developed to run special performance and quality testing before customized high precision manufacturing process is started.

Feeder tuning

We have created processes for improving the feeder block:

This a tuning helps rewinding the axis which forwards the filament when the head is empty and the hot extruder head need to be fed by hand. It prevents that the plastic fiber yanks the plastic pipe (which is around itself) during the printing process. Our solution fixes the feeder mechanism to its proper place to create higher accuracy printed objects.

XY-aligner

This small application extension helps adjusting the X and Y axes to each other even in the case of the problematic complex object structures.

Only imagining the final product is difficult with our printers, creating them is a piece of cake.   GET A QUOTE