MicroFine™ Grey and MicroFine™ Green – When Detail Matters
If you need micro resolution parts with fine details as small as 0.07mm quickly then there is no better answer than our new ABS-like resins MicroFineTM Grey or MicroFineTM Green. Only available from Protolabs, we use specialised stereolithography (SL) 3D printing equipment to rapidly prototype your fine detailed part using these materials so that you can optimise its design before committing to tooling.
Before we introduced this proprietary family of resins, if you needed such parts then your options were more limited.
Whether you wanted it for medical, research labs or consumer electronics, your only answer was to compromise. You had to take a chance, either order the tooling, build with higher tolerances or rely on lengthier production processes.
- 1 to 50+ parts
- Shipped in 1 to 7 working days
Small Parts Prototyping
Now you can reiterate your micro part design for form and fit testing to give you that extra confidence that it will be right. It not only ensures that you get it absolutely right, but it reduces the development timeline.
You no longer need to wait several weeks while new tooling is manufactured and then even more weeks if you need alterations; instead you can get the part perfected in days.
One of the first customers to use this material in Europe, Michael Alculumbre, CEO of Fractual Encryption said: “MicroFineTM 3D printed components achieve amazing detail and we can now quickly carry out reiterative prototyping in the ultra-precision we require, thereby determining the exact design we need before moving to more expensive traditional manufacturing. MicroFineTM 3D printing will be transformational for our business in allowing rapid high precision prototyping.”
Designers can choose grey if they want the prototyped part in a neutral more natural colour, or if they want it to stand out they can choose from the more striking green option.
Such highly detailed parts are built with Protolabs’ unique equipment that has been modified and optimised for micro-resolution. Like all our 3D printing processes, we run in-process controls to ensure parts are built accurately and we conduct strict quality inspections after the build to ensure accuracy.
The post build processing is nearly identical to SL parts built in other materials. It’s first cleaned with solvents and then fully cured in a UV oven. We then remove the support structures and sand it down for a smooth finish. For parts that are extremely small, we may forgo the grit blasting if there is a risk of damage.
Both MicroFineTM Grey and MicroFineTM Green are fairly durable and rigid with mechanical properties most similar to ABS plastic and their mechanical properties make it a more durable choice for small part applications than polycarbonate-like materials.
Using specialised equipment, these new materials allow parts to be printed to a layer thickness of just 0.025mm. Such precision provides an ultra-smooth finish and allows the printing of features as small as 0.07mm. This was simply not possible using 3D printing until recently.
Stereolithography Design Guidelines
"My company has been using Protolabs 3D printing in plastic and metal for some time but until we used MicroFine™ we had never been able to realise the accuracy and precision that we required for our prototype components. MicroFine™ 3D printing will be transformational for our business in allowing rapid high precision prototyping"
Other 3D Printing Technology
Stereolithography is just one of an expanding range of additive manufacturing processes available from Protolabs that include:
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): Laser-sintered nylon powder, creating 3D printed parts that are stronger and more heat-resistant.
Metal Multi Jet Fusion (MJF): Uses inking agents across a bed of nylon powder, to give smaller features and improved surface finish compared to SLS.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS): Laser-welds powder alloys, creating nearly 100% dense metal parts with wrought-type properties.
Polyjet (PJ): Jets and UV cures droplets of photopolymer, with the ability to change select color or hardness throughout your part. Also available in a 65A 3D printed silicone.