Freeforming (APF)

Process Details

Printer Type:

The Arburg Plastics Freeforming (APF) process uses standard injection molding thermoplastic pellets to print parts, producing functional prototypes in the exact grade needed without buying an injection mold. The material is plasticized in a single screw extruder then projected as thin droplets onto a moving part carrier through a piezo nozzle.

Visual Aspect: 

We use a .008" (200µm) nozzle diameter, which produces a surface finish equivalent to FDM printers (Ra=790 micro inches or 20µm).

Capabilities

Bounding Box:

Parts must fit within a bounding box measuring 6" x 5.2" x 9" (154 mm x 134 mm x 230 mm).

Resolution:

Nozzle diameter (and layer thickness) .0079" (200 µm)

Accuracy:

  • XYZ positioning accuracy .0009" (22 µm).
  • Absolute XY tolerance +/-.004" (+/-100 µm)
  • Availability:

    Lead times will be indicated in your instant quote, typically 10 days.

    Materials

    Product Range: 

  • APF is compatible with thousands of materials, however each new material requires a qualification process before validation of the manufacturing "recipe".
  • Maximum melt temperature is 660° F (350°C).
  • The current database includes standard materials such as ABS, PC, TPU, PA, PP and PEI as well as blends and modified versions of these materials (flame-resistant, impact-modified, etc).
  • Freeformed parts typically achieve strengths of about 80% of standard injection molded parts.
  • Biocompatibility:

    Medical and biocompatible grades can be processed.

    Design Guidelines

    Wall Thickness: 

    Material dependent. Minimum .024" (0.6 mm),

    Hole dimensions:

    Minimum diameter .063" (1.6 mm)

    Geometry:

    The printer has 2 extruders and can build support structures with a soluble material. We provide free DFM feedback on your designs

    Applications

    Benefits: 


    APF offers a broad range of materials and excellent mechanical properties. Prototype parts can be used for functional testing.

    Target markets:

  • Prototyping in regulated markets, like medical and automotive applications.
  • Prototyping with high performance polymers or any specific polymer not available as FDM material.
  • (images via Arburg)

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