3D Material selection for the shell of a dispositive

Hi everyone!

I’m planning to make a shell for the prototype of a dispositive which consist of thermomether for different liquids. The thermomether will be attached to the edge of the recipient that contain the liquid. The liquid won’t exceed the 110 ºC.

I would like to order the 3D print of the shell. I was searching in PCBway the different materials that they offer. Trying to choose the best quality/prize option I think use resin instead of PLA. The resins I selected were:

Additionally I would like that the shell have an elegant appearance.

What materials among the listed would you recomend me? Do you suggest me use other kind of resin, PLA or other material?

​​​​​​​Thank you so much!

PLA will deform at 110°C

Any form of FDM / FFF (3d printing by squirting heated plastic through a nozzle) is probably not what you want because the surface is “ribbed” rater than flat and retains at least small amounts of liquid. I am not an expert in resins, but I would expect that some sort of resin would be a better choice for your prototype.

Im not sure that 3D printing would be the best approach for what you want.

You could use the 3D printed part to make a mold for casting/injection molding or 3D printing the mold directly instead. That will give you a better selection of material options for the end product.

The resins you listed are probably not good for your use case. The UTR9000 says it will deform over time at normal air temperature. SOMOS LEDO Resin says it deforms at relatively low temperatures (@50C depending on pressure).

I don’t do resin printing so I’m not able to recommend better resins for this application.

Perhaps acetone vapor smoothing of an ABS print would work?

Thank you! Yeah, I think that resin is the better choice if I choose the 3D printing option for fabricate the shell-

I agree with you Ralph_Schaffner. However I have read that plasctic injection process would be very expensive. What do you think? Do you know how I could do it in a relatively economic way?
For the moment I would like to fabricate 100 units and testing them in the market.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylonitrile_butadiene_styrene has a glass transition temperature of 104°C so wouldn’t work for your application.

PEEK, PEI, and PC can be printed with high-temperature printers if you don’t mind layer lines. If you don’t want layer lines, you could look into SLS. You could certainly get quotes on SLS for high-temperature plastics like those.

If you want to do this yourself, have you considered molding the hardest platinum silicone you can find? I think that you can get at least shore A 80.

Well, a lot of this depends on what you mean by ‘different liquids’ and how much money you are willing to spend.

Usually the expense of injection molding is the creation of the initial mold. This can cost thousands of dollars but then you can make as many as you want. Molds do wear over time but depending on the materials involved, they can last for 10s of thousands of uses or more. The problem is that if you are early in the design phase, you may end up paying for the creation of multiple molds as you iterate through your design.

If you are looking to save money, or aren’t sure of the final design, then you may need to do the initial work yourself. You have to ask yourself, is it cheaper for me to buy the equipment I need to make these prototypes in terms of time and resources. Initial prototypes are non functional so material choices are more flexible. Parts used for functional testing, which is what I think you are looking for, need to work as designed so material selection is important.

I would recommend getting a list of materials that might work for your use and working backwards. Asking how can I manufacture using this material. Then pick the material that you can most easily manufacture yourself. Keep in mind that the functional test parts don’t necessarily have to be the same material as the final part. Once you have a functional part that behaves as it should then you are ready to talk to a manufacturer.

If you have a final design and just want someone to produce it, then I would recommend talking to a few manufacturers like PCBway. Ask about material options and get a recommendation from them on what materials they would recommend. I would talk to multiple manufacturers because capabilities will vary.

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Thank you so much for the recomendations. I’m in the functional testing. So I’ll select the easier material to manufacture the shell by myself among a previously selection of the material that fit better for my application.

Thank you!