Mar 1, 2017 | By David

Leading parts manufacturer Igus has made further inroads into the world of 3D printing technology, announcing the release of the drylin SLTI3 linear axis, an impressive new component that looks set to take the 3D printer manufacturing market by storm. It presents a completely new approach to drive technology that will enable more design possibilities and improved functionality for 3D printers.

Igus Operations, based in Germany, has been producing high quality machine parts for a wide range of industries since it was founded as a plastics supplier back in 1964. It has successfully kept pace with technological developments over the years and is now providing the 3D printer manufacturing industry with solutions to a lot of the problems it faces, thanks to its impressive range of parts. These include chains and cables for print heads, screw drives for print bed mechanisms, as well as the plastic filament that is extruded to produce the final 3D printed objects or components.

The new drylin SLTI3 is a custom-made lead screw unit designed for the XY and Z axes of a 3D printer’s mechanism, and it offers a wide range of benefits. Like all Igus products, it’s completely self-lubricating, allowing for smooth motion without any extra maintenance from the operator. There are relatively few components involved in its assembly, meaning it can be ready for use in a matter of seconds.

Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director of Igus, says that '‘The purpose of developing the SLTI3 lead screw unit was to enable quick and very easy assembly, with the maximum possible variability.'’ This variability can be achieved due to the carriage and end blocks being themselves 3D printed. 3D printing the components means that a huge variety of different components can be specifically designed and built for companies manufacturing 3D printers. New profile designs, stroke lengths and fastening options can all be implemented easily, and Igus' customers tend to receive their custom-made products within 48 hours of placing an order.

The components are made from Igus’ own high-performance Igildur 3D printing filament. This is a tribologically optimised plastic, allowing for a very high level of resistance to abrasion, at a low cost. Tests at the Igus laboratories in Cologne showed the Igildur filament to be up to 50 times more wear-resistant than other 3D printer plastics. This strength is almost comparable to using metals, but the plastic is much lighter and allows the machine to function with a minimum of noise.

Igus’s products have been used successfully in a broad range of 3D printer manufacturing projects. An impressively accurate 3D scanner from Sicnova 3D was made using the drylin belt axis and motors supplied by Igus, and popular 3D printers released on the market by Cobot, Kuhling&Kuhling, and Reprap Austria have all benefitted from the use of Igus’ parts. Igus has also contributed to the promotion and development of 3D printing in education, donating a 3D printer to a university in Bensberg, Germany, so they could participate in a technology competition.

The success that Igus has had so far in supplying parts to the 3D technology market can only continue with this new development. Any progress that we see in the 3D world wouldn’t be possible without the crucial work that companies such as Igus do behind the scenes, and it’s encouraging to see its expertise being put to such good use in order to keep the industry thriving.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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