3D Printing Micro Features with MicroFine Green
When building a part with 3D printing, the machine’s resolution can have a significant impact on the final part by determining the minimum feature size, surface finish quality, and cost. To accommodate for a range of part geometries, we offer sterolithography (SLA) 3D printing in three resolutions: normal, high, and micro. Most parts can be built in normal resolution, but for parts with fine features around 0.1mm, high resolution may be required.
For the times when feature size is extremely small, such as 0.07mm, we offer micro resolution. We can achieve these ultrafine features with our proprietary material, MicroFine Green™. This thermoset resin builds parts in 0.025mm layers. The max. part size is 127x127x64mm and offers very tight tolerances. Most parts built in MicroFine Green™ are no more than 25x25x25mm.
Have a part design that might require this level of resolution? Here’s what to know if you’re considering MicroFine Green™ for your next project.
As the name implies, MicroFine Green™ is green in colour. In terms of its mechanical properties, the material is fairly durable, rigid, and most similar to an ABS plastic. Smaller features built in MicroFine Green™ tend to be more durable than similar 3D printing materials. It’s stiffer than Watershed—our clear, microfluidic material—but fine features will be much more durable compared to polycarbonate-like materials such as Accura 5530. For a more thorough breakdown of 3D printing materials, view this extensive guide.
Here’s how MicroFine™ compares to other ABS-like materials used in SLA:
The primary use of MicroFine Green™ is for rapid prototyping of parts with extremely fine features. The material isn’t quite durable enough for most end-use applications. Most of our customers using this material are prototyping small components in medical devices. Another common application is custom fixtures for researchers in a range of fields.
SLA Tech and Build Process
Our MicroFine Green™ parts are built with 3D Systems Vipers that have been modified and optimized for micro-resolution. Like all of our 3D printing processes, we run in-process controls to ensure parts are built accurately and conduct quality inspections after the build is complete to ensure accurate parts.
The post-build processing is nearly identical to SLA parts built in other materials. It’s first cleaned with solvents and then fully cured in a UV oven. After that, we remove the support structures and sand it down for a smooth surface finish. If the customers’ parts is a standard finish, we grit blast the part. For parts that are extremely small, we may sometimes forgo the grit blasting if there is a risk of damaging parts.