Feature

Nylon prototyping technology has production potential

A new patented process for producing prototype and production parts from nylon 6 has just been introduced to the market. The process, called Compcasting, permits designers to go from a CAD file direct...


Print this page

January 1, 2003 by Canadian Plastics

The RP-10, a low-pressure mixing and dispensing apparatus from Gusmer Corp., is the key to the Compcasting process of making functional nylon parts without expensive tooling.
The RP-10, a low-pressure mixing and dispensing apparatus from Gusmer Corp., is the key to the Compcasting process of making functional nylon parts without expensive tooling.

A new patented process for producing prototype and production parts from nylon 6 has just been introduced to the market. The process, called Compcasting, permits designers to go from a CAD file directly to a glass-fibre reinforced nylon 6 structural production part using low-pressure mixing and dispensing equipment supplied by Gusmer Corporation. The parts are cast directly from polymerized nylon premixed with glass-fibre-resin; pellets are not required. Compcasting is being licensed to rapid prototyping service bureaus and molders by Compcast Technologies, LLC of Barnegat Light, NJ.

The process begins with the building of a mold from a CAD file using traditional RP methods — for example, Vantico Inc.’s Parts-In-Minutes epoxy- and polyurethane-based prototyping system. Next, the Gusmer model RP-10 dispensing machine mixes caprolactam with an activator, producing a slurry, which in turn is heated to 140-150C. Glass fibre is mixed into the slurry via an agitator. The polymerization catalyst is automatically injected into the caprolactam-glass fibre slurry in the correct proportion just prior to entering the mold. The RP-10 dispenses fibre-reinforced nylon directly into the preheated mold. The dispensing machine is capable of delivering a “shot size” of up to 1 lb. per second.

Compcast claims production-equivalent parts can be produced by the process in as little lead time as one day. With risky product launches or low production runs, the process may be used by molders to by-pass investing in expensive metal tooling. One scenario for applying Compcasting in a production mode involves the continuous filling of duplicate molds set up on a rotating carousel. The company says, depending on the application, the process is at least 50% less expensive than conventional injection molding.

Gusmer Corporation 732-901-2752