Plastic and Sand 3D printing capabilities allow for rapid 3D prototyping, as well as the creation, design, and manufacturing of complex geometries, thus, allowing greater design freedom without an upfront investing in tooling. Customers are able to test versions of their designs without investing in tooling that is difficult and costly to modify.

    3D scanning allows our clients the ability to reverse engineer. Parts can easily be scanned and quickly modified through software. Reverse Engineering allows us to rapidly make and test changes with editing parts.

    3D Printing

    3D Printing Process

    The 3D Printing process is relatively simple, having just three main steps. First, a part design is created using CAD software. Second, this CAD design is then converted into a slicing software file. By converting to this file, the 3D printer will be able to read a part design slice by slice. Third, the slicing software file is sent to the 3D printer and created layer by layer. The third step differs based on which method of 3D printing is utilized. 

    3D Printing Methods:

    • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused filament fabrication (FFF) - This method heats thermoplastic polymer material filament and deposits the material layer by layer onto a build platform to form the complete object.
    • Stereolithography (SLA) & Digital light processing (DLP) - This method uses a laser to cure a photosensitive liquid resin point-by-point continuously to form the complete object. DLP uses a similar process using UV light instead of a laser. 
    • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - This method uses a laser to melt powdered polymer particles creating the final object from the fused powder material. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), and Electronic Beam Melting (EBM) all use a similar process involving powdered polymer materials being fused together.


    Advantages of 3D Printing

    • Speed

    3D printing allows for rapid prototyping, which can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to design, test, and make changes to a part design. This is a big advantage, saving time and resources as well. 3D printing is excellent for small, fast production runs. 

    • Cost

    3D printing only requires 1 or 2 machines and fewer people to operate in comparison to traditional CNC machines and injection molding processes. There is also less cost due to more precise printing. 3D printed parts are created from precisely laid sections rather than being carved out of larger materials, equating to less wasted material.

    • Flexibility

    3D Printing allows for great flexibility. A design change can easily be made in the 3D printing software and sent to the 3D printer with minimal to no physical change in machine setup or supports. There are no tools, molds, dies, or jigs needed to alter a part design like with traditional CNC machines or injection molding processes. There is also enhanced flexibility in the type and number of materials that can be used in one printed application.

    3D Printing Materials

    There are many materials that can be used for 3D printing depending on which method is being used and the purpose or application for the printed component. The most common 3D printing materials used are Plastics.

    • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
    • Polylactic acid (PLA)
    • Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA)
    • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
    • Glycolized polyester (PETG)
    • Polycarbonate (PC)
    • High performance polymers (PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM)
    • Polypropylene (PP)
    • Polyamides (nylon)


    Other materials that can be used include: 

    • Composites - Materials that have chopped or continuous fibers added to them to reinforce and add strength.
    • Hybrid Materials - Materials that mix base plastics with powders to change the color, finish or add additional material properties. Alumide, a mix of polyamides and aluminum powder is an example of this. 
    • Soluble Materials - Materials that are used with the intention of being dissolved to achieve the final product. 
    • Flexible Materials - Materials that are used for their flexibility while still maintaining their form. 
    • Resins - Photopolymerization methods use UV-sensitive resins to create objects layer by layer.


    3D Printing Applications

    3D Printing has many uses and is continuously growing in applications and industries as the technology becomes more widely available. 3D printing is most commonly found in education, manufacturing, medical, and construction industries. Additionally, it is common to see 3D printing in the arts sector, appearing in jewelry and sculpturing. 

    Sand Casting with 3D Printing

    BCI Solutions has the capability to make sand casted molds utilizing a 3D sand printer. 3D sand printing is a type of casting process that uses a mold made from sand as a negative impression for producing the desired component. 3D sand printing is great for printing cores and molds used as negatives to cast other components. Complex parts can be printed easily to any dimension as long as they fit within the buildbox of the printer. 

    3D Sand Printing process

    The 3D Sand Printing process uses binder jetting to create a design in the sand. Binder jetting is a reactive resin that is deposited on a substrate. Typically, the substrate is a silica sand that has been pretreated with an acid catalyst. The binder jetting is deposited onto the sand from a print head, similar to how office inkjet printers print on paper, the print head jets the reactive binder onto the sand. The print head only jets binder onto specific parts of the sand, creating the design layer-by-layer.

    3D Scanning

    3D laser scanning is a non-invasive way to digitally scan an object using lasers found in the digital scanner. This object is recreated digitally in the desired software from the point cloud data collected by the scanner. 3D scanners allow us to capture the exact 3D form of an object and utilize it within computer programs without touching or destroying the object.

    Reverse Engineering

    One of the best uses of 3D scanning technology is reverse engineering. Reverse engineering involves altering a 3d scanned digitization of a physical part. 3D scanning captures the exact shape of an object. This allows for the manipulation of that object digitally. If a part needs to be quickly altered, 3D scanning is great for capturing the shape of the object and then digitally adding the alterations. This altered part can then be 3D printed and tested, without needing to incur high costs of alternative prototyping methods. 

    BCIS Scanning Capabilities

    BCIS has scanning capabilities through a Romer Scanner Arm that allow us to speed up the pre-production approval process by scanning the part and producing a 3D colormap allowing our customers to clearly see if any aspects of the part at hand are out of tolerance. 

    Our 3D scanner also allows BCIS to perform wear testing on all of our foundry and machine tooling. This shows BCIS the wear patterns that customer tooling is developing and gives BCIS a proactive approach towards tooling modifications and tooling refurbishments.

    Let Us Be Your Solution

    (574) 546-2411
    BCI Solutions, Inc. 500 N
    Baltimore St
    Bremen, IN 46506

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