RE: Customer question

From: Eifert, Dan (
Date: Wed Jan 05 2000 - 22:47:22 EET


We have the ThermoJet machine at our facility and it's a pretty good
machine. I have used it to make molds for pouring a 2-part epoxy used to
reinforce wires as they exit a connector. The material is very much like a
wax in that it is soft when heated but hardens upon cooling. In fact, I
froze the molds to make them easier to remove (destructively!) as the
material is quite brittle at low temperatures. It also caused my mold
release agent to "bead up" lake rain on a well waxed car. At room
temperature it is hard enough but not too strong. I can scratch and gouge
the surface with my finger nail. The accuracy cannot match that of an
SLA500 (which we also have) and the "stair-stepping" effect was quite
pronounced. I had a great deal of difficulty removing the supports from
intricate areas without destroying the details of the mold. I'm told that
the material melts away completely in a pot of boiling water which could be
an advantage in some instances.

Bottom line: The ThermoJet has it's place and can be useful where great
accuracy and durability are not required. It's also nice that the material
is very user friendly and requires no real skill to remove and reset the
machine for the next run.

Competitors: I haven't seen it in action, but the Sanders modelers sound
like a viable alternative. It's said to be more accurate and with two
materials (1 for the model and another for the supports) it should clean up
more easily.

Hope this helps!

Dan Eifert
Electronic Packaging
Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control - Orlando

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul Lasman []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 2:15 PM
> To:
> Subject: Customer question
> I received this question and wanted to get some feedback from the list.
> Thank you.
> >Hi,
> >Our Company provides prototypes for the toy industry. We are currently
> >considering purchasing the 'FreeForm' System from Sensable Technologies
> with
> >the 'Phantom' touch interface. I'm trying to find out about any other,
> >similar technologies for sculpting. I'm also interested in any
> information
> >about the Thermo Jet from 3D Systems of Valencia, which is offered in a
> >package deal with the software. We would like to know whether any
> competing
> >products exist, and any information would be appreciated.
> **************************************************************************
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