The Digital Thread

Your blog feed for manufacturing resources, in-depth features, and industry news.

Vapour Smoothing

Protolabs’ new post-process ‘vapour smoothing’ – a first for European digital manufacturing – has developed additive manufacturing further. It enables parts 3D printed from the commonly used material PA-12 and the elastic TPU-01 to be 3D printed with a smooth surface finish similar to that produced by injection moulding.
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Challenges on the Horizon

Challenges on the Horizon

Posted On 11 May 2022 By Protolabs
The Aerospace industry in no stranger to innovation, but with challenges of the pandemic and ongoing needs to address carbon emissions it has been left with some difficult challenges. Reflecting on a Protolabs research project two years ago, how is the industry shaping up now?
CNC Milling

Understanding and Improving Modern CNC Milling

Posted On 11 March 2022 By Paul Coupe
While CNC Milling has been around for more than 50 years, the technology is moving on and recent advances see automation of the entire process, from design right through to finished part. Such advances make it a technology that is readily available to all, for high or low volume quantities, prototyping to final parts and with lead times of as short as a day.
CNC Milling

Protolabs adds high performance Aluminium 5083 to its rapid CNC service

Posted On 22 February 2022 By Matt Hatch
As the world’s leading digital manufacturer, we have added Aluminium 5083-H111 (3.3547 or AlMg4.5Mn0.7) to our range of over 40 stocked metal and plastic materials for our fast turnaround CNC service. The material is widely used in extreme environments with its high magnesium content making it highly resistant to saltwater and industrial chemicals.
JOSCAR registered

Protolabs achieves JOSCAR recognition, joining elite group of suppliers for Aerospace, Security, Space and Defence industries

Posted On 24 January 2022 By Protolabs
Having supported the sector for a number of years we are now officially recognised as a fully compliant and credible supplier to major businesses within the associated industries.
Injection moulded part

Injection moulding – What are the advantages?

Posted On 07 January 2022 By Matthew Hatch
Injection moulding has a number of advantages. It is a cost effective, highly repeatable way of producing plastic parts with high precision. Once set up, it can produce a huge amount of parts per hour from a wide range of different plastics plus other materials such as liquid silicone rubber.

Titanium vs Aluminum: Workhorse Metals for Machining and 3D Printing

Posted On 01 December 2021 By Steve Konick
Light weight and strength help aluminum and titanium excel for 3D-printed and machined parts.
Tensile Testing for 3D Printing Materials

Tensile Testing for 3D Printing Materials

Posted On 01 December 2021 By Rachel Hunt
Tensile strength testing for 3D printing materials determines how a material will behave under load.
Putzbrunn Facility - Germany

A new era for 3D printing in Europe

Posted On 22 November 2021 By Matt Hatch
We are proud to officially open our new 3D printing centre of excellence in Putzbrunn near Munich. The centre is a world class facility that contains future-oriented technologies, highly skilled employees and a host of sustainable benefits.
Manufacturing process verification and validation

The Verification & Validation Valley: Why Both are Critical in New Product Development

Posted On 01 November 2021 By Chris Stevens
Speed to react to a shifting economy is creating a new set of standards for product and process development. All this leads us to a new set of challenges causing a re-evaluation of strategies for design and process verification and validation.
Porsche's 3D-printed electric drive unit housing

Automotive Industry Embraces Additive Manufacturing

Posted On 18 October 2021 By Protolabs
The automotive industry is doubling down on its push to adapt additive manufacturing technologies