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Functional Prototyping

Prove and perfect your designs with tough, precise testing

Iterative, agile product development is the promise of advanced 3D printing. Functional prototyping with engineering thermoplastics or digital materials reveals how your next product will perform, well before you commit to production tooling.

Dynamic Friction Coefficient

Realistically simulate the mechanical function of end products by 3D printing parts using PolyJet photopolymers with precise dynamic friction coefficients — all in a single build.

3D printed prototypes and friction

Friction is defined as the force that opposes the relative motion or tendency of such motion of two surfaces in contact. The friction coefficient of a prototype’s surface is a functional component, not an aesthetic one, and simulates the end product’s mechanical properties. A well–designed prototype that takes friction into consideration can have the following advantages: an improved grip for the end user, reduced part wear, simulated movement functionality and sliding abilities.

Why Connex 3D printing?

Connex printing systems provide a solution for prototyping surfaces with varied friction coefficients that were impossible or cost-prohibitive to prototype in the past. By being able to print several materials in one build process, Connex systems can produce prototypes with varying friction areas on one given part. Users determine the friction coefficients for different areas of a given part according to the load factor. Consequently, Connex systems save time and money by providing an easy solution for prototyping complex parts whose dynamic friction coefficients can be tested in a single build process.

Tips for dynamic friction coefficient in prototypes

  • Save your design in separate STL files according to the different parts. This is recommended for flexible areas, as well as for rigid parts. Later the parts can be printed in different color tones to visually separate areas of the model.
  • Label each part with its relevant shore value. Labeling will help you later easily determine which shore values received the highest score in your evaluation criteria tests.
  • Design you model in such a manner to enable the mounting of flexible parts on your full assembly of rigid and flexible parts. You can then use the Connex ability to print up to nine different materials in one build process and then assemble each part on the model for evaluation.
  • Coating: Use the Objet Studio software to coat parts with various thicknesses from 0.3-3mm with one mouse click. You may use any one of the different Digital Materials as the coating material.
  • To avoid disengagements, design the model so the rigid material extrudes as a thin core into the flexible one. This creates a connection that can withstand repeated flexing and bending.