FAQs

RP Support offers free technical advice on all of our products and can help you with a wide range of technical issues including product recommendations, technical information, material samples and custom product development.

Please refer to our on line resource of technical FAQ's below or contact us if you would like to speak with one of our technical specialists.


Laser Sintering Hardware

What level of service contracts do you offer?

We offer 4 levels of contracts, ranging from phone support up to full cover including all parts and visits.

Read more about our service contracts


Why should I use RP Support for servicing my hardware?

Our 6 engineers have a combined experience of 77 years installing, repairing and upgrading hardware. We know the machines inside- out and have completed many non-standard upgrades to improve performance and reliability. We can refurbish and repair equipment and carry a large stock of spares in our Aylesbury offices.

Read more about the benefits of working with us


Can you supply spare parts or refurbishments for my SLS® hardware?

We offer a wide range of options for spare parts, repairs and upgrades for your SLS® hardware.

Read more about our SLS® hardware options


Stereolithography Apparatus

How can I improve the performance and productivity of my SL hardware?

Build times are largely governed by two factors – the recoating time and the scanning time. Build parameters are highly dependent on part geometries. Most users use default settings for recoating, but if the build allows it (thin wall sections) try changing the sweep speed from 25mm/sec to 30mm/sec? This small change will shave nearly 2 hours off a full extents 200mm high build. Do you really need 10 seconds of z wait for those thin wall section parts?

Scan speeds are calculated from many factors. The resin Ec and Dp should not be changed but have you tried changing overcure depths or hatch spacing? Build a few test parts with different settings to see.

The laser scan speed is inversely proportional to the beam diameter. A machine building with a 10 thou beam will scan 20% faster than a machine building with a 12 thou beam. Is it time to book us in to tweak that beam?


What level of service contracts do you offer?

We offer 4 levels of contracts, ranging from phone support up to full cover including all parts and visits.

Read more about our service contracts


Why should I use RP Support for servicing my hardware?

Our 6 engineers have a combined experience of 77 years installing, repairing and upgrading Stereolithography machines. We know the machines inside- out and have completed many non-standard upgrades to improve performance and reliability. We can refurbish lasers in our own lab and carry a large stock of spares in our Aylesbury offices.

Read more about the benefits of working with us


Can you supply spare parts or refurbishments for my SL hardware?

We offer a wide range of options for spare parts, repairs and upgrades for your SL hardware.

Read more about our SL hardware options


Stereolithography Resins

Why has the viscosity of my SL material increased?

When a resin is polymerised by a laser it becomes a cross-linked gel. The gel that is not fully polymerised remains in the vat and causes an increase in viscosity over time. Maintaining proper resin viscosity in your stereolithography machine is very important. The viscosity can increase over time, and this can cause problems in building parts. If the viscosity increase is severe enough, the resin may have to be replaced, resulting in significant expense and lost production time. If increasing viscosity is identified early, the resin can be saved in most cases. Early detection of the problem can be accomplished by regularly measuring the resin viscosity. This must be done even if the machine is not used often, as resin viscosity can change even if the machine is not used.


How should I clean WaterShed parts?

Immerse the parts in TPM for about 5 minutes with agitation. If surface appearance is not an issue, a bristle brush may also be used. After thoroughly draining the platform, immerse the parts in isopropanol for 5 minutes with agitation. Drain. Rinse the parts with isopropanol and dry with compressed air before post-curing.


Should I stir my vat of SL material?

Oxygen plays an important role in preventing the polymerisation of resin in a vat. In normal use the motion of the platform introduces enough oxygen to prevent resin polymerisation. Vats of resin should not need to be stirred in normal operation. If a vat of resin is stored for any length of time then it should be stirred approximately once a month. If a composite resin is used such as Somos NanoTool, then it should be stirred on a regular basis to prevent the composite from falling out of suspension.


Can I mix different SL materials?

Different materials can be mixed to provide materials with different properties!
Please experiment at your own risk!


Will humidity affect my SL parts?

Some SL materials are hygroscopic causing parts built from these materials to soften in high humidity conditions. Resins formulated using Oxetane chemistry are far less hygroscopic. Examples are Somos WaterShed XC and Protogen materials.


Which gloves should I wear for handling SL resins?

Chemically impervious gloves are necessary for handling Stereolithography (SL) materials. SL materials, including green parts, should never be handled with bare hands or fingers, for both epoxy and acrylic based systems.

Latex gloves are not recommended because they are not chemically resistant to SL materials. Use of Nitrile Rubber gloves are recommended for use with SL materials due to their chemical and puncture resistance. In addition, the surgical tightness of fit provides a little more dexterity and comfort in handling intricate SL parts.

Other gloves such as vinyl or PVC (polyvinylchloride) have also been found to withstand SL materials chemically.


How do I clean SL parts?

Stereolithography (SL) parts need to be thoroughly cleaned of liquid material before being post-cured, or the accuracy and surface finish of the final parts will be compromised. Parts should be removed from the vat and allowed to drain fully into a tray. The material which drains off should be cured in the PCA and discarded; returning it into the vat may cause an increase in viscosity of the whole vat. Some users centrifuge parts in a low speed 'honey extractor', designed for removing liquid honey from honey combs. The subsequent technique used will depend on the build style used.

After draining, parts should be washed in TPM (Tri-propylene glycol mono-methyl ether), either manually or in a parts-washer, and rinsed in water. The rinse water must be filtered and treated before it may be put into the local authorities drains. Finally, the parts should promptly be wiped over with paper rag to minimise the time they are left wet.

At all times it is important to follow the health and safety guidelines, this is particularly so when cleaning parts as the solvent can carry chemicals present in the material through the skin.


Why should I upgrade my SL material?

New materials are constantly being introduced which bring enhanced material properties, allowing you to achieve improved performance from the parts you are building. This may be benefits such as improved accuracy, superior side wall quality, reductions in material waste or improved mechanical properties that more closely simulate a thermoplastic material. Upgrading your materials can not only provide models, tools or parts with superior properties, but it can also increase the productivity and effective operating life of your equipment. This will ensure the running and operation of your platform is optimised to maximise your part output, minimise downtime and ensure cost effective solutions to maximise profitability.


RP Support Ltd.
14 Bridgegate Business Park Gatehouse Way
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP19 8XN
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1296 425665
+44 (0)1296 425665

support@rpsupport.co.uk

Registered In England & Wales
Company Number: 6674645
VAT Registration: GB 911 5976 15
D-U-N-S Number: 217885314

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