Putting painted Class A surfaces on a molded part requires a costly paint line, right? Well, maybe not for long. A developmental molding process developed by Ube Machinery Inc. (www.ubemachinery.com) applies liquid paint to injection parts while they're still in the tool. With the new IMPREST process, the tool opens briefly after the part has molded to allow paint to be injected. The tool then closes again, transferring the cavity surface onto the painted surface for a uniform finish. UBE will make IMPREST available machines in 2005.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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