FAQ

General

For 3D printing: a 3D file, preferably in STL format (or a drawing or dimensioned sketch), the amount of parts and type of finish required; if you know what technology and material you desire, please provide that information. If not provide specific characteristics such as thermal, mechanical and dimensional specifications as well as the final use of the part.

For the 3D scan: send us the object to be scanned or at least photographs taken from different angles as well as the dimensions (x, y, z).

For price requests for tooling and injection moulding: STEP or IGES files, service life required for tooling, material to be injected, type of mould (pre-production, serial production, prototype), the need for an inspection report, finishing of the parts (superfinishing, demoulding polishing).

Quotes for 3D printing will generally be sent to you in a matter of hours. For more challenging projects, you should allow up to 3 days. Quotes for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS®) and Casting will be sent within 5 days. You will generally receive quotes for Engineering, 3D scanning, Casting and Tooling within 2 weeks.

We do not divulge confidential information regarding projects from its current or potential clients. You can of course send us a confidentiality agreement to sign.

Yes, our Parts Design & Production Center obtained EN ISO 9001:2000 certification in December 2008.
Download ISO certification

You can choose among our different file transfert methods

File transfert

You can have a look at our documentation page to download it.

PRODUCT DESIGN / ENGINEERING

We use PRO/Engineer, Catia, SolidEdge and Pro Mechanica

Our team has extensive experience in designing industrial products, especially for the medical sector, home appliances, sports and leisure industries etc.

We handle the mechanical design of your project and calls on partners for the electronic design.

We have mechanical engineers in-house and we can include design in our quotes as we work with design partners.

NO, but we can help you find a patent advisor.

We develop over 150 products per year. We manage projects that can take only a few days to ones that take several months. (capacity exceeding 1000 hours of development).

Yes, there are several ways to do this: Rapid prototyping through 3D printing, simulation (calculations), risk analysis (for example: AMDEC).

3D SCANNING / INSPECTION

On smaller parts using the GOM Small Objects module, we can reach accuracy to the nearest +/-0.01mm. On the other hand, with a 20m-long wind turbine rotor, we can reach accuracy to the nearest +/-0.6mm.

Here is a table summarising the tolerances to be obtained:

ATOS TABLE Typical uncertainty and size of associated objects

We have a very accurate optical system for digitalizing. GOM’s ATOS scanner is particularly suitable for fragile or soft parts as it works by projecting light fringes. If your part is too fragile or large to send to us, or if it is being used for production, we can also come to you and scan at your site.

We can digitalize parts measuring 10mm thanks to the Small Objects module and also models measuring several metres in length by using photogrammetry.

We provide you with an inspection report including a 3D colour cartography with the discrepancies, screenshots in PDF format as well as a 3D visualisation and measuring software. In this way it is possible to easily create sections and dimensions and to accurately and fully check the discrepancies of the digitalized geometry. The inspection is performed on the entire part and focuses on both geometry and dimensions. It brings to attention any faults linked to plastic injection moulding (shrinkage, deformation, burring etc.) The inspection report is analysed immediately and is easily readable, even by those who are not experts.

The creation of a 3D file, direct machining of a copy of your model, digital archiving, dimensional inspection, the completion of a cartography of the discrepancies between the real part and the theoretical file.

No, a complex 3D form cannot be recreated from photographs. The 3D model needs to be made in CAD.

For fragile parts, the Atos scanner enables contactless 3D digitalization.

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

We talk about rapid, additive or e-manufacturing when we produce series parts directly without using tooling. For this, we use 3D Printing methods but in series production conditions (traceability, repeatability, new materials).

The advantages are numerous:

Saving time: Tens or hundreds of parts in a few days.

Profitability: No tooling costs

Flexibility: the possibility to change the product without any additional costs

Ideal for personalised or limited production products.

Possibility to personalise each product or change the design without any additional costs

Just In Time production: delivery in a few days, no stock

INITIAL has focused on developing Additive Manufacturing and we have a significant machine park: 5 stereolithography machines, 8 sintering machines including two 700 x 380 x 580mm P730 machines, 6 metal laser sintering machines with 8 types of material available.

3D printing has become the solution for rapid manufacturing. New materials are developed to best meet this trend: carbon fibre or flame-retardant polyamide for example.

3D PRINTING / PLASTIC ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

The file formats we can use are:

neutral: STL, IGES, STEP

native: PRO/E or CATIA V4 or V5.

The file format used for manufacturing is .STL

For any other type of file, please contact us.

If you only have 2D design, please contact us for a quote. We can also do 3D modelling if necessary.

Our technical sales team is here to help you.

We advise you on the best process and material according to your end requirements (assembly or aesthetic approval, functional tests); the quantity of parts to be made, and any other requirements.

To optimise the quality of your parts, you can avoid triangulation by generating your STL file with the smallest chord height possible.

If the value is too small in relation to the size of the part, the software gives you the minimal value.

We consider that the tolerances that can be obtained through 3D printing are included in the reduced tolerance class of standard NFT 58-000.

STEREOLITHOGRAPHY

It is used as a: model for silicon moulds / prototype part to validate dimensions / decorative part / starting point for chrome plating.

Very good surface condition and excellent dimensional accuracy. However, resin prototypes are relatively fragile.

You can have a look at our epoxy resins page.

Average lead time: 3 days

Process:

Stage 1: Machine manufacturing

Stage 2: Cleaning

Stage 3: Delivery using express carrier.

Possibility to shorten the lead time to 2 days depending on the case.

Minimum wall thickness: 0.6mm

Layer thickness: 0.15mm. Feasibility to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

FUSED DEPOSITION MODELLING (FDM®)

Very high geometric stability that avoids the risks of deformation. Used above all with large parts and those with stretched surfaces. A part can be made in several elements post glued using epoxy adhesive.

Yes, the material is exactly the same but the ABS wires that are melted and deposited in layers make parts that are more fragile than when using injection.

The lead times are variable and directly proportional to the size of the parts: ranging between 1 and 10 days.

SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING (SLS®)

To obtain prototypes that are operationally and mechanically validated.

SLS® HD is a more accurate 3D printing technology for smaller parts. High definition with 0.06 mm layers (60 microns) and wall thicknesses of 0.4 mm are possible!

Average lead time: 3 days

Process:

Stage 1: Machine manufacturing

Stage 2: Parts cooling

Stage 3: Cleaning and sand-blasting

Stage 4: Delivery using express carrier.

Possibility to shorten the lead time to 2 days depending on the case.

Minimum wall thickness: 0.8mm or 0.4mm in HD

Layer thickness: 0.15mm to 0.06mm. Feasibility to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

VACUUM CASTING

Between 20 and 30 parts. However, some more aggressive transparent or filled materials often lead to premature damage of the silicon mould.

To obtain parts that are: coloured / transparent / shock resistant / heat resistant / multi material / with overmoulding of inserts, etc. Small batch production is of course cheaper (approx. 20 parts / mould).

Yes, priming is absolutely necessary as it minimises scratches and imperfections of the master model and avoids reproducing them on the casted parts.

Average lead time: 2 weeks.

Process:

Stage 1: Stereolithographed master model

Stage 2: Priming

Stage 3: Manufacturing of the silicon mould

Stage 4: Casting of the first parts

Stage 5: Deburring

Stage 6: Painting

FINISHINGS

Finishings can be applied to any type of 3D printed prototype or part:

Stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering, FDM, casted parts etc.

All types of finishings are possible depending on the requirements:

  • Single coat of paint (F1)
  • Priming (F2)
  • Priming + polishing + painting (F3)
  • Satin or matt paint, grainy
  • Metallization (electroplating, screen printing, transfer, varnish, impregnation etc.)

You can have a look at our finishings page.

DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING / DMLS®

3D printing in metal or DMLS® enables parts or mould imprints to be directly manufactured. It is particularly suitable for small and very complex parts. Given that the part is made layer by layer, its complexity does not pose a problem. It is therefore possible to produce parts that cannot otherwise be made.

INITIAL used to have a machine EOSint M250 – the early generation of DMLS®. At the time, the bonding agent was lasered to the base material which caused a degree of porosity. Now that we have bought new generations of machines (EOSint M270/280/290), sintering is total and provides a density of 99.99%.

We have several materials to meet your different needs:

  • Stainless steel 15-5PH (EOS® PH1)
  • Stainless steel 316L
  • Maraging steel 1.2709 (EOS® MS1)
  • Cobalt Chrome (EOS® CC MP1)
  • Titanium Ti64
  • Inconel® 718 / 625
  • Hastalloy X
  • Aluminium AlSi10Mg

For the applications and features for each material, you can have a look at our DMLS® metal comparison.

Tolerances can reach 0.05mm depending on the geometry of the part.

1) Walls thinner than 0.5mm must be avoided.

2) We need supports to manufacture the part that can then be machined. A limit of the process would be the inability to remove the supports.

3) The quality/price ratio is not interesting beyond a certain volume.

MACHINING

All plastic materials: POM, PA, filled PA, PC, PMMA etc.

All copper and aluminium alloys

All steel types

We have a full machining workshop

Aluminium Casting

Casting made by plaster mould from an SLA® model. We can carry out re-machining on request.

Aluminium and Zamak alloys.

TOOLING / INJECTION MOULDING

There are several solutions to best meet your requirements:

Moulds with direct metal laser sintering dies

Aluminium mould

Pre-treated steel mould

Prototype mould

Pre-production mould

Production mould

We provide you with different solutions depending especially on the quantity of parts to be made and the expected quality.

We can carry out the injection moulding of your parts between 100 and 50,000 parts on average, depending on the type of tooling, geometry of the part and the material injected.