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Rapidly sintered tools

May 7, 2000

1 Min Read
Rapidly sintered tools

Penn State University’s Randall M. German says, "Sintering is the glue that holds together several industries. But there is little cross fertilization." At the University’s Center for Innovative Sintered Products (CISP), German is leading the effort to sinter these different industries together. As previously detailed, one goal of the CISP is to conduct research into how to reduce mold cost and lead time (see "Rapidly Sintered Tools From a New Sintering Center," June 1999 IMMC, p. 37).

Last summer, a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) rapid prototyping system was donated to the CISP by member company DTM Corp. of Austin, TX, the system’s OEM. SLS technology involves the use of laser energy to sinter powdered materials selectively one layer at a time to build 3-D products rapidly that match a CAD drawing. These products can be built in plastics and powders, including fine metal powders like stainless steel.

This type of rapid tooling technology has already changed the way one plastics custom molder and moldmaker does business. In 1998, Dickten & Masch created a new division called Rapid Solutions. It uses SLS technology to create fully functional steel molds in less than a week from the receipt of a CAD file at a fraction of the normal cost.

Rapid Solutions has produced molds that have run more than 50,000 high-quality parts in high-viscosity, glass- and mineral-filled engineering resins without showing any signs of wear. The company also produces complex metal parts as well as molds using SLS.

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