The “Thomas Pazulla Technical Services” car designer house is now building prototypes using the X400 3D printer by German RepRap. Large parts like these door panels are more than 100 mm in length and are printed in smaller batches. Then the batches are glued together and sanded for a smooth surface. The decision to change from a laser-sinter process to the fused-filament fabrication (FFF) was not only driven by the cost savings. “The parts are a lot more rigid than the laser-sintered models”, says Thomas Pazulla, “The model contains hooks which often broke off in the past.”Thomas Pazulla Technical Services prints in PLA, a very versatile bio-plastic. PLA is the most common material for 3D printing. Compared to the well-known ABS plastic, PLA is less prone to warping during temperature changes and hence better suited filament choice for the X400. This is because of the lower printing temperature which also saves energy. The modulus of elasticity are approximately 4000 MPa. “The X400 is a very precise machine. I only get a deviation of 4/100 to 5/100 mm per 200mm. That’s more than enough”, says the design engineer. Thomas Pazulla started off with a single X400 3D-printer, but now he has so many orders that he runs a small X400 park! Pazulla says, “My customers are changing from laser-sintered parts to 3D printed models made of PLA.”
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