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MDA Technologies 2/2015

MDA Technologies 2/2015

3D printing plates glide

3D printing plates glide smoothly For both, rapid prototyping or mass production – 3D technology provides fascinating options. Linear and drive technology, plain bearings and energy supply systems from Igus are used in wide range of kits and plans. Design engineers for 3D printers for professional use rely on fully installation-ready linear glide solutions for lubricant-free and low-noise operation. V ery slowly and quietly, the print table moves from top to bottom: the vase emerges layer by layer until it assumes the exact shape of the digital model then the 3D printer releases the product. The components of the EVOlizer 3D printer from the start-up company EVO-tech GmbH, Seewalchen/Austria, need to work with extreme precision to make such delicate artisan structures. Printing is performed based on the fused filament fabrication process (FFF). This involves melting thermoplastic fibres in a heated nozzle, which are then layered on the print table in X and Y direction by the print head. Lowering the table in Z direction causes one layer of the plastic filament to be deposited 22 MDA Technologies 2/2015

MACHINE ELEMENTS onto the next until the object is complete. During this process, the plate structure only moves a tiny distance, in increments of a tenth of a millimetre. In order for the print table to accurately glide from top to bottom with little noise, Markus Kaltenbrunner, design engineer and CEO at EVO-tech, used components from the drylin product range from Igus: “I started out by making my own linear solution using the guide rail, carriage, lead screw nut, and lead screw as individual components. Since then, the EVOlizer uses the entire, ready-to-install fully assembled drylin SLW linear leads screw unit.” Among other issues, the key to selecting Igus linear plain bearings is their low operating noise. drylin components glide quietly and vibration-free because there is no mechanical rolling action between hard friction partners, as is the case with metal or ceramic balls. This was an important criterion for EVO-tech since the company wanted to develop a 3D printer for the immediate working environment. The compact desktop 3D printer was developed for architects, prototype builders, and small series fabricators as target groups. The printer can be used to produce demonstration models, prototypes, and small volume series. EVOtech has therefore positioned its 3D printer exactly in the middle between home-made 3D printers for personal use and large 3D printers for industrial applications. Lubricant and maintenance-free plain bearings inside In addition to quiet operation, the quality of the produced objects is important for professional applications. For instance, lubricants can contaminate the raw material or the printed product. Because solid lubricants are integrated into the raw material, Igus high-performance polymer plain bearings completely avoid lubricants. This eliminates any contamination risk. In addition, the dry-running properties render the 3D printer maintenance-free and decrease the likelihood of malfunctions. Other factors, such as acceleration and positioning accuracy also play a role in moving components in 3D printers. These allow detailed features of products to be accurately reproduced based on CAD models. Regardless of travel, smoothly operating drylin linear plain bearings and lead screw units can be used with slow as well as high accelerations. Regardless of whether the extruder head is moved from left to right, forward or backward, or the plate structure is moved from top to bottom – Igus provides a complete construction kit that contains profile rail guides, linear units with lead screw drives or toothed belts, and even complete linear axis including the motor. Designers have access to five drylin linear technology type series. The flexible construction kit provides various sizes and widths, therefore giving developers unlimited options: the drylin W linear guide system alone includes 14 different profiles and 50 carriage versions. The compact linear shaft guides of the drylin R type series are particularly suited for guiding the print head since they do not damage the axis and have very low bearing clearance. Due to its small installation space, the drylin N low profile linear guide system can be installed for Z-axis height adjustments. It has particularly low profiles in various widths. The carriages on all drylin guides operate without lubrication. Due to high wear-resistant polymers and their special geometry, the linear units from Igus are very rugged and promise long service life. Moreover, the compact solutions for the 3D printing industry represent a cost-effective alternative to conventional guide systems. Everything from a single source In addition, Igus energy chains ensure that connected cables are reliably guided during the computer-controlled printing process. Due to their low profiles and tight bending radii, products from the micro-chain series are particularly suited for confined installation spaces in 3D printers for dynamic applications in any direction of travel. As is the case for linear bearings, micro-chain series also feature very low weight. The chainflex control and motor cables guided in these are specifically designed for continuous motion applications. This prevents cable failures and guarantees a long service life for 3D printers. In combination with motorised drylin linear axis, which include motor flanges, extensions, and drylin E stepper and direct current motors, Igus can supply a completely ready-to-install operating unit from a single source. This full-service capability is also important for EVO-tech as it relates to the user-friendliness of 3D printers, an important aspect in professional environments. In order for the EVOlizer to work troublefree and to prevent downtime, EVO-tech installs and calibrates its 3D printers on-site, trains users, and makes an expert available for the Auto-CAD system. EVO-tech itself also values this comprehensive service in its collaboration with Igus: process costs and development time were reduced based on the advice provided by Igus engineers for selecting the correct plain bearings and energy chain solutions for the desktop 3D printer. www.igus.com 01 The print head layers the plastic fibres on the print table - dry-running drylin R linear bearings ensure accurate travel 02 The dry-running characteristics of the plastic plain bearings from Igus render the 3D printer maintenance-free and reduce the likelihood of malfunctions About Company name: igus Established: 1964 Headquarters: Cologne, Germany Turnover: € 427 m Employees: 2,400 worldwide Products: motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications: energy chain systems, cables, polymer bearings, linear bearings, lowcost-automation MDA Technologies 2/2015 23

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