3D printing has come a long way in recent years, and one of the most exciting developments is the ability to print functional parts using plastic materials. In some cases, 3D printed plastic can even be used to replace metal parts, providing a cost-effective and lightweight alternative that can be customized to meet the specific needs of a given application.
Let’s say this clearly, in the maritime industry there is a clear bias towards metals, especially steel, producing some parts in metal by simple inertia, and because the production processes are configured to produce metal parts.
One of the key advantages of 3D printed plastic is its versatility. Plastic materials can be used to create a wide range of functional parts, including lids, covers, consoles, handles… the list is long. Additionally, the ability to print these parts with fine details and complex geometries allows for the creation of parts with unique and custom designs.
Another advantage of 3D printed plastic is its light weight. Plastic parts are often significantly lighter than their metal counterparts, which can be beneficial in applications where weight is a critical factor. For example, in the aerospace industry, reducing weight is critical for improving fuel efficiency and reducing the overall cost of flight.
In addition to its versatility and light weight, 3D printed plastic also offers cost savings compared to metal parts. The ability to print parts on-demand and without the need for expensive tooling means that 3D printed plastic parts can be produced at a lower cost than metal parts. This can be especially beneficial for small-scale production runs or for the creation of prototypes and custom parts.
3D printing with fiber reinforced plastics, also known as reinforced filaments, involves using a 3D printer to produce a physical object by laying down successive layers of a composite material that consists of a matrix polymer reinforced with fibers. This process allows for the creation of parts with improved mechanical properties, such as increased stiffness and strength, compared to parts made solely from the matrix polymer. The reinforced fibers can be made from a variety of materials, including carbon and glass, and can be oriented in specific patterns to optimize the resulting part’s performance.
3Dock can produce small and large format plastic printed parts, adjusting their mechanical performance to their range of use. These pieces can also serve as molds to produce pieces of composite material. We can even produce designs that use 3D printing in plastic to form hybrid structures, taking advantage of conventionally produced structural steel and 3D printed plastic.