Additive Manufacture

Combining components to make functional devices that can be tested for mechanical or electrical properties.

Objet1000 Multi-Material 3D Printer (Stratasys)

The Objet1000 has a unique set of capabilities that set it apart from other 3D printers. The combination of high precision PolyJet printing technology with an unusually large build area makes for an extremely versatile system. The most exciting feature; however, is the ability to combine multiple build materials in a single tray, assembly or part. Materials range from soft silicone-like elastomers to rigid nylon-like plastics, with a range of shore hardness values available in between. The ability to combine rigid and compliant materials in a single part enables novel design approaches.

Build area: 1000 x 800 x 500mm
Resolution: Approximately 50µm

Tango+ (Hardness: 26 – 28 Shore A; Tensile Strength: 0.8 – 1.5 MPa)
Vero (Hardness: 83 – 86 Shore D; Tensile Strength: 50 – 65 MPa)
Digital Materials (Offer a range of intermediate values)

Accepted file types: STL / STL assembly

Manufacturers website:

Points to note:
– A single STL can only be assigned a single material. In order to create multi-material parts, you should: segment your CAD model according to the desired materials; create an assembly from these segments; export this as an STL assembly.
– The nature of the printing technology means that parts will usually be encased in support material and any internal voids will be filled with support material. This is removed using a high-pressure water jet. However, fine and delicate surface features can be damaged and internal voids can only be cleared if there is sufficient access.

Perfactory 3 Mini Multi Lens 3D Printer (EnvisionTEC)

The P3 is an ultra-high precision 3D printer uses Digital Light Processing technology and is ideally suited to producing small, extremely intricate parts. A range of materials with different mechanical properties are available.

Build area: Up to 73 x 48 x 135mm
Resolution: Down to 16µm

ABflex (Tensile Strength: 28.6 MPa; Flexural Strength: 1400 MPa; Hardness: 77 Shore D)
RCP30 (Tensile strength: 46 MPa; Flexural Strength: 102 MPa; Hardness: 93.1 Shore D)
HTM140 (Tensile strength: 56 MPa; Flexural Strength: 115 MPa; Head Deflection Temperature: 140oC)

A range of other materials can be purchased in relatively small quantities.

Accepted file types: STL

Manufacturers website:

Points to note:
By the nature of the printing technology, no separate support material is used. Instead, parts are “grown” out of a bath of liquid build material which offers some support. This approach has advantages and disadvantages:
– No support structures are needed for many classes of feature. Even small overhangs are possible without support. This means that fine surface features can be accurately produced and will not be damaged during cleaning.
– Conversely, where support structures are needed, these are made from the model material, usually in the form of thin filaments. Areas where support filaments must be removed will usually have an imperfect finish (although this can be improved by subsequent sanding).

Fusion3D 1100 Laser Structuring System (LPKF)

The Fusion3D is designed to enable the creation of electronic circuits or conductive tracks on the surface of a three dimensional shape. An example of this approach is the internal antenna of a typical mobile phone. In a robotics context, this system can be used to lay conductive tracks on structural components, enabling greater integration of sensors / actuators and minimising wiring complexity.

Structuring area: 160 x 160 x 80mm

Precision: +/- 25µm

Materials: Non-conductive materials (primarily plastics).

Accepted file types: STEP

Manufacturers website:

Points to note:
The properties of the substrate material determine whether or not soldering is possible. If high temperatures cannot be tolerated, consider using a conductive glue (A.K.A. cold solder) to make connections.

LASER CAB Laser Welding System (OR Laser)

The LASER CAB system uses a class 1 laser to weld a wide variety of materials and can be operated manually or with CNC. The system excels at delicate work, where the variable intensity pulsed laser allows accurate welding of small parts.

Work area: 400 x 250mm

Resolution: 0.2 – 2mm beam diameter

Materials: Metals (including aluminium) and possibly some plastics.

Points to note:
For one-off jobs, welding will usually be done manually. As such some variability is possible.